Those who believe NCAA Basketball is doomed following top prospect Jalen Green’s commitment to the G League doesn’t see the bigger picture.
There was major news in the NCAA Basketball world as Jalen Green, the No. 3 ranked prospect in the country according to the 247sports Composite Rankings, announced that he would be spurning all his college options – Auburn and Memphis chief among them – in favor of a new NBA G League initiative that will pay prospects at least $500,000 and allow them to earn endorsement money while participating in a one-year developmental program to prepare them for the following year’s NBA Draft.
The NBA is hoping his new pathway will be enticing enough to keep top high school prospects that want to pursue professional careers over the traditional collegiate model in the United States as opposed to them leaving for overseas opportunities. Top 2019 prospects LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton both left the country to play a year in Australia’s NBL this past season, while others have spent their “one-and-done” year in Europe.
Green is the first prospect to choose this new path, and recent Michigan decommit Isaiah Todd is reportedly joining him. A handful of other uncommitted prospects may be joining them, too.
Undoubtedly, this is a great opportunity for the prospects that are offered to take part in this initiative from a monetary standpoint, and they don’t have to deal with the “student” charade during their likely one year on a college campus. We don’t know how it will work out from a developmental standpoint since no one has gone through the program yet, obviously, but the NBA is hoping that the combination of coaching, mentorship from veteran pros, and exhibition games will pay off in that area.
It also changes college basketball as we know it, as this provides yet another avenue for top prospects to be compensated straight out of high school before entering the NBA Draft – something that is infamously against NCAA rules.
The fact this initiative is now being offered – and the fact some prospects are electing it over college – has been championed as a death blow to college basketball’s popularity and something that could even end the NCAA altogether.
Don’t worry. College basketball will be fine.