NBA rookie Brandon Jennings may have been 10th pick in the 2009 Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, but without even officially playing for a second as a pro, he’s already causing a stir and making bad decisions.
Shortly after being drafted, Jennings had a phone conversation with rapper Joe Budden, which he videotaped and was later posted on YouTube. During the chat, the NBA rookie bad-mouthed NBA vets like Ramon Sessions and Chris Duhon, boasted that he would beat out the Bucks’ current starter Luke Ridnour to become the starting point guard, and even called out the New York Knicks for not drafting him with the 8th pick.
The video has since been removed from YouTube.
Since the conversation leaked, 19-year-old Jennings has received a lot of backlash, raising questions about his maturity. A little back-story about the player: he opted to play professionally in Italy instead of going to college and stirred the pot by criticizing fellow rookie Ricky Rubio in the days leading up to the draft.
Jennings expressed regret regarding the incident, saying it’s been a learning experience for him.
“I’m pretty glad that it happened now, something that I can learn from,” he said in a statement. “Now I know you can’t trust everybody, everybody’s not your friend. It was a joke. We were joking and everything. But for my part, I shouldn’t be talking about team business that I have no idea about.”
He explained that he was unaware that he was being videotaped, but acknowledged it was wrong either way.
“I was wrong for the things I said,” Jennings continued. “It was jokingly, we were playing around, laughing. But at the same time, I have to be careful and I’m going to learn from that.”
Since the controversy over the incident spread, the NBA rookie had a chance to speak with Joe Budden and said they’re ok, but has learned not to trust everybody.
“We’re OK,” Jennings said. “We did talk about it, my agent, we all talked about it. Everybody’s pretty upset about the situation. Because the last thing I was thinking about was I’m getting recorded on YouTube having a conversation with a friend. But like I said, I’ll learn from it, and now I know I can’t really trust everybody.”
Some of the Bucks’ staff says the YouTube incident shows the kind of confidence their young rookie has, which assistant coach Kelvin Sampson likes. However, like Jennings said himself, Sampson feels its also a life lesson the 19-year-old needs.
“I say this with all due respect: That kid has a very high opinion of himself,” said Sampson. “He think he’s pretty good, and we’re not going to tell him any different. He’s got a lot of confidence, and I like that.
“It’s just an opportunity for him to learn a life lesson,” he added. “I don’t think you overreact to it, but you make him understand that the name on the front of his jersey is a little more important than the name on the back of it.”
With the incident behind him, Jennings said he now looks forward to playing the summer league in Vegas and preparing for his rookie year in the NBA.
“This summer, I’m really going to take serious.”