Experts agreed that Tyler lacked the maturity or social structure to make it work in a foreign land. And lo! Pete Thamel of the New York Times, after a visit to Tyler's team, writes that the worst fears are being realized.
This is a pretty tidy summary:
His coach calls him lazy and out of shape. The team captain says he is soft. His teammates say he needs to learn to shut up and show up on time. He has no friends on the team. In extensive interviews with Tyler, his teammates, coaches, his father and advisers, the consensus is that he is so naïve and immature that he has no idea how naïve and immature he is.Tyler has played little, has been fined for team violations, has fought with the coach and teammates ... all in a couple months. Thamel ends his long piece by quoting Tyler as telling the reporter that he wishes he were returning to the United States with him. Not a great sign ... especially considering Tyler has the better part of two years to go.
But of course, the Jennings experiment didn't go just as planned. The difference was that Jennings had family in tow, and less choice in the matter. (There were rumors -- never refuted -- that Jennings would not meet NCAA academic eligibility requirements. There have been no such concerns with Tyler.) Jennings had to make it work for a year. Tyler, a pioneer in his own rite, one who would instead be dominating 6'5 opponents and doing advanced geometry (or something), has the burden of regret.
Jennings has been a success so far -- an early leader in the Rookie of the Year race, a player Knicks boss Donnie Walsh has already cited as a player he missed on. But right now, Tyler is proving there's another way things can go. As with all things, there is no magic solution.