Originally Posted by MarTennis
Hypothetically, take a 16 y.o. who is nationally ranked Californian that wants to go pro. Good student, good ACT/SAT profile. How about a strategy of taking the GED, getting out of high school, playing at reputable California Jr. College and take classes, transfer to reputable Div. I university, get as close to degree as possible, but keeping an eye on going pro. At the end of this process the kid is still only going to be 20 to 21, armed with a lot of experience. Also, I think the kid can escape the limits on practice at the J.C. level that he would necessarily need to violate at the Division I level to stay "on track."
This is directed mostly to Mitch Bridge because I think he understands the California college tennis landscape more than most, but seeking all input too.
Can that player graduate high school in 3 years? Cal JCs lack intensive and competitive match schedules. JCs in the South play more intensive schedules. I think the JC path is good if you the player is not good enough yet for the D1 school, but I would recommend a pro-path to finish a semester early or even a year early and play high on a D1-ranked team as soon as possible for great match experience. Turning pro at 20 is probably the ideal in today's pro world. This would give the player 3 years of college experience, and maybe that player could finish his/her degree on-line for senior year.