NBA teen hopefuls choose money and G-League over college

WASHINGTON: some American high school basketball the stars are taking a new and more profitable path to NBA than the usual college route: the new elite squad of the G-League Pathway Program.

The development plan for players waiting the one year after high school before they become eligible for the NBA allows them to prepare like a pro, be coached by pros, play alongside and against veteran talent, avoid university classes and, unlike collegians, receive a salary .

"We've been asked by the basketball community to provide an alternative to the traditional route," G-League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim He says. We want to be available to young players. We believe that the market demanded it.

Jalen Green, a guard of Filipino descent considered one of the best coaching players in the United States, became the first to join the G-League team, reportedly with a salary of $ 500,000. Forward Isaiah Todd and guard Daishen Nix followed him for $ 250,000 to $ 300,000.

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A lot of opportunities came, Green said in a social media video. But the ultimate end goal is to get to the NBA.

The team, open to all global talent, is expected to play a schedule of 20-25 games against international lineups and clubs in the G-League, the top talent development squads for NBA teams.

Allow more time for training and instruction with almost as many games as a college season would offer.

Teens who might have played gone to teams in Europe and Australia, as 2020 NBA Draft top pick contender LaMelo Ball did in 2018 in Lithuania or last year for the Aussie league's Illawarra Hawks, now have a new US-based non-college opportunity.

If an athlete has a chance to earn a salary and go to the G-League, I applaud that, Gerald Gurney, a college sports expert at the University of Oklahoma, told AFP.

You're probably better in the G-League. That's a good option instead of going to college.

The track team led Nix to withdraw from his commitment to UCLA . Todd had said he would attend Michigan, but never signed a letter of intent, while Green, who helped three American teams to world youth crowns, went straight to the G-League.

"Jalen will learn from an NBA -caliber coaching and player development staff as he begins his professional basketball journey," former NBA player Abdur-Rahim said on the G-League website.

He represents the next generation of NBA players, and we couldn't be more excited to have him develop his professional skills in our league.

University of Memphis coach Penny Hardaway, who was hoping to land in Green, told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal newspaper that he opposed the G-League as a new recruiting rival.

Taking guys out of their commitments they have already signed and continuing to talk to their parents, it's almost like tampering, said former NBA star Hardaway. I really don't agree with that.

University of Kentucky coach John Calipari told the Louisville Courier-Journal that my problem with the G-League trying to attract players by giving them more money is not the kids they are getting, it's the thousands of ninth graders and tenth grade who think they will.

While most will fail, it's not like colleges don't make kids dream of NBA careers, often with school photos of pro stars in university locker rooms.

That's what is revered there, Gurney said. Most elite athletes have one thing in mind, and that is getting into an important sport.

The more options a high school player has, in addition to the academic environment, the better. I celebrate that.

Abdur-Rahim says the G-League show doesn't have a big impact on the NCAA and dismisses the manipulative talks, and tells ESPN: Our process has been to educate people and make people know what we are doing. providing.

A new plan from the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) would allow students to receive support money, offering some funds to athletes who generally cannot work even part-time, while schools and coaches get millions of dollars.

It is a step in the right direction, Gurney said of the new plan. But it is too limited for athletes.

And it could be delayed in court for years to come, Gurney said: Antitrust lawyers are sucking their ribs.