Former Arizona signee Brandon Jennings signed a multiyear contract Wednesday with Pallacanestro Virtus Roma in Rome, his mother, Alice Knox, said in an e-mail to ESPN.com.
The 18-year old Jennings is expected to compete for major minutes at the point as he spends at least one year playing in Italy in preparation for the June 2009 NBA draft. The contract is expected to have a buyout to leave for the NBA. Jennings will turn 19 in September and because he signed with a professional team overseas he immediately becomes draft-eligible in June.
A two-year-old NBA rule prevents a high school senior from directly entering the NBA draft. A player must be one year out of high school and 19 during the draft year to enter the draft.
"It was awesome," Knox said of the news conference in Rome. "It was two hours, lots of media people, 100-plus. He signed a contract with the attorney, owner and it was like an NBA press conference."
Knox said the family was heading out to meet fans.
Jennings didn't qualify academically to play at Arizona. Jennings, who is originally from Compton and played his last two seasons at Oak Hill Academy (Va.), was tabbed as the top point guard by ESPN.com in the class of 2008.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.