San Diego sophomore Jeremy Tyler is considered a cross between Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard; lists Michigan State, UCLA among top college choices.
“It’s amazing,” coach Kenny Roy said. “I have never seen a kid, as a sophomore, get so much national attention. I’m overwhelmed.”
Jeremy Tyler wasn’t even out of junior high school when he was ranked as the best player in his class by a basketball recruiting Web site. Over the years, Tyler continues to get better, and the rankings are still there for the 6-foot-10 sophomore from San Diego High School. Tyler is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation among sophomore players by Scout.com and Rivals.com. He has also garnered accolades from ESPN.com and The Sporting News, being ranked among the top underclassmen in the nation. Not bad for a 16-year-old. Tyler and his Cavers teammates were in Neosho last week playing in the 53rd Annual Neosho Holiday Tournament. Tyler and his coach, Kenny Roy, sat down and talked about what things have been like for the much ballyhooed sophomore. “I just keep playing, I don’t worry if I’m No. 1 or No. 200,” said Tyler, whose older brother James Tyler Jr. is a guard on the team. “I don’t feel like I’m the No. 1 player. I still have stuff I need to work on. Not one thing is perfect.” Tyler is part of a team that in some circles is dubbed “tournament teams” – a team that is talented enough to travel the country playing games. A travel itinerary for late December into January was San Diego to Lakeland, Fla., then San Diego to Neosho, Mo., then San Diego to New York City. “Each game you try to grow for it and fix it in the next,” said Tyler. “I made a lot of mistakes. The mistakes I made in Florida were the way I talked to the ref, coaches and my teammates. Obviously it didn’t work in Florida.” Tyler is perhaps the feature attraction for the Neosho Holiday Tournament, and he has been getting more and more attention each place he has played. He takes pictures with the kids, and he signs autograph when asked. “That is what you get for all the time you put into the gym and the 3-a-days,” said Tyler. “You win, people will like you.” Perhaps a reason he is able to handle some of the spotlight goes back to last season when he was a freshman and saw all the attention that is brought to a Division I type athlete, as he played with current Arizona freshman Jamelle Horne. “I think the most important thing is that I learned from his mistakes,” said Tyler. “He made me a much better player. I feel like that I made him better and he made me better going against him in practice each day.” The recruiting buzz around Tyler started last year as a freshman and picked up even more this winter. Tyler’s father, James Tyler Sr., handles all the recruiting hoopla so Jeremy can focus on basketball. Roy noted he receives about 15 letters a day from colleges throughout the United States. “It’s amazing,” said Roy. “I have never seen a kid, as a sophomore, get so much national attention. I’m overwhelmed.” Rivals.com lists the top schools for Tyler being UCLA, Southern Cal and Michigan State, among others. Roy noted that Tyler has received recruiting letters from every school in the Big 10, Pac-10, SEC and ACC, including North Carolina. He has been compared by one recruiting network as a cross between Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard. Those are two players who are similar in size and went from high school to the NBA. Tyler won’t be able to follow in that aspect due to a new age limit rule, so he will have to find a college to play in for at least one year. Tyler noted his goals are to play Division I basketball and then make it to the NBA. “I don’t handle the recruiting letters or anything,” said Tyler. “I just play basketball. It takes the pressure off. I’m only a sophomore. I have two more years to worry about where to go, so I can just play basketball.” So the recruiting wars will continue, and if the past is any indicator, Tyler will continue to get recognized and followed. “We will make sure the schools will keep fighting for him,” Roy said. “We like the recruiting war.” Neosho Daily News