Second-rounder Jeremy Tyler is a most intriguing choice

By Marcus Thompson II


When it became clear that Golden State could acquire big man Jeremy Tyler, Warriors assistant general manager Bob Myers stood up in the team’s draft room and spoke up.

Myers has known Tyler for years, since he was a middle school phenom in San Diego. Myers felt compelled to issue one last reminder to coach Mark Jackson.

“I said, ‘Mark, you’ve got to coach this guy,’ ” said Myers. “He said, ‘Let’s get him.'”

Assistant coach Michael Malone then asked: “Is he good? Is he big?”

“He’s good and big,” Myers responded. “But you’ve got to keep him on a leash a little bit.”

After that, Golden State agreed to send $2 million to Charlotte in exchange for the No. 39 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, which the Bobcats used to select Tyler for the Warriors. In doing so, Golden State added some serious excitement to its draft.

Tyler — 20 years old and 6-foot-10, 260 pounds — was a first-round talent with some issues, which is why he was available in round two. He’s known for being a gifted athlete with all the tools to become a special NBA big man. He’s also been known for being immature, making poor decisions and having a questionable work ethic.

Golden State will introduce Tyler on Monday, along with first-round pick Klay Thompson and second-rounder Charles Jenkins.

“Doing the deal to acquire the rights to Jeremy Tyler was an aggressive move,” said Warriors general manager Larry Riley. “Jeremy is a person of size both in height and bulk and is a young, athletic player. We will certainly be in a developmental situation with him, but I do think he is an NBA talent.”

Tyler has been pegged as an NBA talent since he was in the eighth grade. Some say that’s what gave him the personality flaws that made him so hard to deal with as a teenager.

He has had a filmmaker following him around since his sophomore year in high school, making a documentary. He’s had shoe companies, agents and hangers-on putting in their bids before he’d taken algebra.

After his junior season at San Diego High in 2009, when he was touted by many as the top high school player in the nation, Tyler decided to skip the 12th grade and play pro ball in Israel. It was a move set up by AAU basketball honcho Sonny Vaccaro, and it caused a national debate. Tyler became the first American basketball player to leave high school early to go pro. He signed a two-year, $140,000 contract with Maccabi Haifa after agreeing to play collegiately at Louisville.

Israel didn’t go so well.

Tyler appeared in 10 games, averaging just 7.6 minutes. Or, as the Haaretz Daily newspaper in Tel Aviv reported, “Tyler averaged about two points, two rebounds and two temper tantrums a game.”

After run-ins with his coach and teammates, Tyler — who was alone in Israel at 18 — wound up going back home.

“All he had to do was go and do what Brandon (Jennings) did, shut up and go learn,” Vaccaro, an adviser to Tyler and Jennings, told the New York Times in a 2009 article on Tyler. “He obviously isn’t doing that. He thinks that he’s Kevin Garnett.”

Tyler regrouped after Israel and headed for Japan to play this past season for the Tokyo Apache, coached by former NBA head coach Bob Hill. It was under Hill that Tyler started to show signs of maturity and progress, on the court and off.

Tyler averaged 9.9 points and 6.4 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game with the Apache. The season was suspended in March because of the catastrophic earthquake in Japan, but in his last game, Tyler totaled 24 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes.

“In Japan, he was able to keep his NBA flame alive,” said Tyler’s agent, Mahktar N’Diaye, who played at North Carolina and had a cup of coffee in the NBA. “We all know Bob Hill is passionate. Because he had been an NBA coach, Jeremy felt he was somebody he could listen to.”

N’diaye said Tyler looks at Jackson the same way. Riley said the Warriors are planning to put at least a couple years into Tyler, so his roster spot is pretty secure. The Warriors are thirsty enough for size, rebounding and inside scoring to take a chance, especially considering the struggles of starting center Andris Biedrins.

Tyler could be just what the Warriors need: a big man who plays big but can run the floor and finish with authority, and who can protect the basket and bang inside.

“The No. 1 thing he definitely will bring is toughness,” said Warriors small forward Dorell Wright, adding that he’s played with Tyler during the summer for several years. “He’s still very young and raw. He has a lot of room to get better. He plays hard and is willing to work. I worked out every day with the kid, so I know he will fit in well for us.”

Myers said when the Warriors talked to Tyler, the first thing the player asked was when he could come to Oakland and begin working out. N’diaye said Tyler was frustrated he didn’t go in the first round and is bent on making the teams that passed him up pay.

“Everybody said this a great kid that needs direction and has tremendous upside,” Jackson said. “I feel very comfortable about taking him and molding him. I’m excited about what lies ahead for this young man. He couldn’t have fallen into a better situation.

“I want to be not just a coach to this young man. I want to be a mentor. I want to be a father figure. I want to be somebody he understands he can trust and grow with. I want to give him every opportunity to succeed.”

Marcus Thompson

  • jscrilla

    This coffee you speak of. Where and when is it served. For real, a questionable yet talented big man with “upside,” sounds awfully familiar. That being said, I think this dude has a servicable career in the NBA ahead of him and two stints abroad probably would humble just about any player. The Warriors indeed need to beast up, and this guys got plenty of demons for the job. As for coffee, Im guessing he’ll have his without cream.
    Really like that Jenkins kid. He seems to have that New Jack swagger that Mark Jack can identify with, hopefully a “Quiet Storm” replacement. Oh yea, and if Klay Thompson is a 3, well then there will be problems.

  • W’s in 2010

    Credit Myers for this pickup. Credit Jerry West for finding Klay Thompson before the hype started. And I guess credit Hofstra’s own Speedy Claxton for finding Charles Jenkins <– I love this pick, btw.

    So anyway, why is Larry Riley still here?

  • I too am excited about the possibilities with Tyler; Finally, a player with size, who plays like a big man, and likes to bang inside and dunk on people. He has a mean streak, and plays with a chip on his shoulder.

    I Hope for 2 things:

    1. The warriors hire an assistant coach specifically to coach and teach the big men.. If Pat Ewing doesn’t get the Detroit job, could he be convinced to come and work as an assistant for his old friend Mark Jackson?

    Ewing could really take a guy like Tyler under his wing; teach him how to bang in the NBA; teach him the mindset he needs to dominate. Ewing could ALSO help teach Beans some defense.. how to avoid fouling so much, and encourage some toughness from the goose.

    2. That Tyler’s presence in practice will toughen AB up; that AB will finally have someone to scrimmage against who will try and go at him the way other bigs do across the league. Andris will have to toughen up just to get thru practices; let alone the games. I hope this helps Andris gain confidence and learn to play some real defense, and that it inspires a more aggressive approach to basketball for Beidrins.


  • TownLove

    I was thinking the same thing. It would be nice if Pat Ewing can be brought over to mentor Tyler and work with AB (is he is still here).

    The 2nd round is where you take the Big Risk/Big Reward Pick. It only makes sense. You may stumble onto a Monta or Arenas.

  • Felix Guillory

    OK, I am all for giving a young man an opportunity, but if the Warrior’s are truly building a team; everybody has to help Jeremy Tyler from ownership to coach. Too often I heard of so called leaders helping a young man mature and the results are nobody does.
    He is coming into an environment that makes available every negative underworld vice in the world. All the sharks will be looking for his weakness, the women, the drugs and the gangs so time will tell. Mark you are the spark, the first line of defense, the first line of offense that will be reflected in Jeremy’s development; he will be looking to you more than anyone else. I see you are saying you accept the challenge to help him become the man you are. We the Warrior fans will be watching your leadership development take hold with Jeremy Tyler. Go Warrior’s!

  • 12’s

    I love the tyler pick. Think hes going to be the real deal.

    On a more important topic. When is Lacob going to fire that clown Fitz? Once we get rid of him the curse will finally be lifted and we get back to good basketball.

  • I am glad to see the warriiors finaly got a big big man, I hope he plays center for us. And I would like for the to get Oden from the blazers and they could limit both of playing time to learn and stay healthy, and bring in Ewing to coach them up. Good luck warriors.

  • robert young

    so send us Ellis..that is send Ellis to Kobe in LA

  • dgreen

    Hey I think we just have to wait and see hopw this goes. Hopefully we give this young guy Tyler a chance to play and don’t pull a Don Nelson. I personally feel that Tyler can help the Warriors, and I like Klay Thompson of course, havent heard much of the kid from Hofstra but I am sure he can play! Need a solid backup PG.

  • dgreen

    But I am with many of you, Get Greg Oden in here and deal Beidrins now while he still has some value, really if Beidrins gets rid of the comb over hair due he might start playing some basketball again!!!!LOL!!!!!HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  • dgreen

    I saw Jeremy tyler play in high school his junior year and he showed alot of promise. But people dont know that he comes from a place that had issues, his high school coach was fired due to recrutiting issues so he had to learn a different system midway through his junior year if i am not mistaken, so instead of transferring he decided to drop out which was a bad idea and go pro, so he hasnt been getting the best advice obviously, so with a good situation this kid can flourish.

  • lou alcindor

    kareeeeeeeeeeeeeeeem! we need your great teachings of the legendary sky hook !

  • Gdog

    This guy is a guaranteed bust, flat out. Good skill set but doesn’t have the drive. Mark it down will be gone in two years.

  • jay rhoell

    its a shame that tyler took bad advice to leave school… i think that move has cost him a couple million dollars off the bat. even if he got paid the full 150k a year in isreal and say 100k in japan. he could have went to college for 1 year and then possibly get drafted top 10 and start at the rookie scale for 2-4 million a year…

  • al oha

    Forget about hiring “outsiders” to help Jeremy Tyler learn. The best source of learning how to play the low post, both offensively and defensively is already in S.F.

    Nate “the Great” Thurmond is articulate, played outstanding defense and low post offense, and was a WARRIOR for many years. He could teach the things that Tyler needs to learn to optimally help the Warriors.

    Bring back all the Warrior Greats back into the fold. Have Rick Barry teach AB how to shoot 80+% with an underhanded free throw. Have Mullin teach Klay the finer things of getting his jumper off against quicker players. And have Al Attles show how Teamwork, Unselfishness, and all out play can lead an underdog to the NBA Championship.