- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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Arizona signee Brandon Jennings has decided to make an unprecedented move to forgo playing in college and instead pursue a professional career in Europe next season before likely entering the 2009 NBA draft, Jenning's attorney, Jeff Valle, told ESPN.com on Tuesday night.
"Over the course of the last two months I have consulted a number of people in basketball before coming to this decision," Jennings said in a statement released through Valle. "I would like to thank the University of Arizona for their interest and support through this process."
Jennings, a Los Angeles native who played his final two high school seasons at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., was rated as the nation's top point guard in the class of 2008, according to ESPN.com.
Valle said Jennings will not even wait for his third standardized test result to see if he got a qualifying score after his second test was questioned by the NCAA. The results from the third test are due later this week.
"That's a moot point now," Valle said. "He's not going to the University of Arizona. Brandon plans on going to Europe."
Valle said a number of European teams have expressed an interest in signing Jennings for next season. Valle declined to say which teams and in which countries.
Valle said that the family will consult with Sonny Vaccaro and likely sign with an agent to help facilitate a contract with a European professional team. Vaccaro is considered the godfather of grassroots basketball, having worked for all three major sneaker companies -- Nike, adidas and Reebok -- who sponsor high school summer basketball events.
Jennings was expected to be the starting point guard for Arizona after Jerryd Bayless left for the NBA draft. The Wildcats also return Chase Budinger after he withdrew from the draft as well as Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson after he took a leave of absence last season.
"We're disappointed in terms of Brandon's decision, but we want to wish him the best of luck," Olson said in a statement. "We hope that things turn out well for him in the future."
Under an NBA draft rule put in place two years ago, Jennings has to be out of high school at least one calendar year and be 19 years old before being eligible for the NBA draft.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com