Why the best basketball rookies are leaving college to sign with NBA G League, Overtime Elite
Going to play college basketball seems like a less attractive option for high school basketball prospects than it once was.
With choices like playing for the NBA’s G League Ignite, playing overseas, or signing with another professional league in the United States, more and more of the game’s top prospects are signing contracts to get paid while at the same time getting paid. heading to the NBA rather than taking the stock market. and spend a year in college.
At least soon, the decision seems to be paying off. LaMelo Ball spent a season playing basketball in Australia, relinquishing his commitment to UCLA, before being drafted third overall by the Charlotte Hornets. He is now the favorite to win the rookie of the year title. NBA G League stars Ignite Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga both appear to be top picks in the 2021 draft after deciding to sign with the team rather than go to college.
But what are these leagues and who signs up to join them? We’ve got everything you need to know about these top talent who turn pro early.
What options are available to players?
There are a number of avenues that the best recruits who come out of high school can take that don’t involve college. The most common for many years was to play abroad. Back in 2008, The New York Times reported that Brandon Jennings was the first American to leave for Europe to play basketball abroad instead of taking his talents to college. Since then, other players such as Emmanuel Mudiay and RJ Hampton have taken similar steps to play internationally before returning to the NBA.
Now there are more options. The NBA G League Ignite began in 2020, allowing the high school’s prospects to develop professionally by competing against other G League teams with salaries reaching six figures – and even as high as $ 1 million in some. case. And on Friday, a new program called Overtime Elite officially landed its first two high school engagements, both of which are expected to receive six-figure salaries.
Why would players choose this path?
Well, for starters, they get the money. Of course, with discussions surrounding NIL at the NCAA level, there might be a way for college athletes to start making money through their name, image, and likeness. However, at this point, the recruits who go to college receive a scholarship and education, although in some cases a short duration if the athletes decide to turn professional after just one season.
While the NCAA is the most established path, signing with programs like the G League Ignite and Overtime Elite could give the nation’s top rookies an experience facing talent at a higher level than they might be faced with. at University. With Ignite, players will compete against each other and play alongside NBA veterans and promising G League prospects in hopes of making it onto a roster of NBA players. At Overtime Elite, players will receive development training while providing education options. During their stay, they will earn a salary and enjoy their name, image and likeness.
Who has already turned pro?
In the short span of the existence of the G League Ignite, it has landed renowned prospects. Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga, No. 2 and No. 4 respectively in the 247Sports composite rankings, were among Ignite’s first major signings. Five-star rookies Daishen Nix and Isaiah Todd have also joined the program. Kai Sotto, a four-star rookie from the Philippines, also signed with Ignite.
The program added its youngest talent to date on Friday, signing Scoot Henderson for a $ 1 million contract to make him the youngest professional basketball player in American history. Jaden Hardy, Michael Foster and Fanbo Zeng, all five and four star rookies in the 2021 class, will also sign with the G League Ignite program.
Overtime Elite also caused a stir on Friday, signing their first two players to deals when juniors Matt Bewley and Ryan Bewley, a pair of five-star brothers from Orlando, Fla., Joined the program. according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Who will be the next to sign?
There are several players who could be the next high school talent to go to the pros. According to 247Sports, the top two rookies in the 2022 class, Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren, are set to go pro, while the recruiting site gives No.6 player Keyonte George a 50% chance to sign to play professionally. The site also gives 2023 five-star goalie Mikey Williams a 57% chance of turning pro.