I caught up with Sonny Vaccaro late Monday night.
Naturally, Brandon Jennings was a topic of conversation.
"He's been over there for two weeks now," Vaccaro said. "If he comes out of this alive it's going to be revolutionary."
Jennings, of course, is the Arizona signee who decided to be the first American to flip the bird to the NBA and NCAA and spend his first year after high school playing professionally in Europe while waiting to become eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft. It's a bold move. And anybody wondering whether this will be an isolated event should know that Vaccaro said he has been contacted by at least 12 families of elite high school players -- freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors -- who are also interested in exploring the option of skipping college in favor of the Euroleague.
"I spoke to another three just this weekend,” Vaccaro said. "I'm not saying they all want to go. But they are all interested in knowing what's possible."
So why are the families reaching out to Vaccaro, you ask?
It's because the historically prominent figure was instrumental in Jennings' move and has become a liaison of sorts between the Euroleague and America's youth since resigning his position with Reebok and beginning a crusade against the NBA and NCAA that will take him to yet another college campus for a speaking engagement next week. Vaccaro has developed dozens of European contacts, both owners and coaches, and he now has a direct line that can be used to find out what's possible and what isn't for any curious mind.
"I've been well received over there," Vaccaro said. "It's almost like I'm more involved now that I'm no longer involved."
On another note, I've got two words for you to remember: Under Armour.
Yes, I know Under Armour isn't really in the basketball business and that it doesn’t have a single basketball player endorsing its products. But remember, Jennings already has the label of trendsetter, and if Under Armour wanted to expand its brand on a global level this might be a good place to start.
To be clear, other shoe companies are also interested in Jennings.
A deal should get done soon.
But don't be surprised if Jennings shuns the traditional route and signs with Under Armour. And don't be surprised if Vaccaro is right in the middle of it. And don't be surprised if it leads to Nike, Adidas and Reebok eventually finding themselves once again in competition in some capacity with the man who once worked for each of those companies.
Under Armour is about to become a player in basketball.
It should be fun to watch develop.
Anyway, one last note on Jennings. Lots of you have asked whether he will play against Spanish phenon Ricky Rubio this season. The answer to that question is 'Yes', and the dates have been confirmed. Jennings plays for Lottomatica Roma and Rubio plays for Joventut Badalona. Those two teams will meet Oct. 29 in Rome and Dec. 11 in Spain. So mark your calendars because the games should get plenty of hype and garner unprecedented attention, both over there and over here.