The NBA G-League has started an alternative program for elite high school players to bypass college and begin playing professionally in order to make money before being drafted.
Once the No. 1 player in the country, Jalen Green, decided to bypass college and enter this program, he paved the way for others to begin giving this platform a chance as he is the first athlete to do so.
G-League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim told 247Sports, a recruiting website for high school athletics, that this team won’t play more than 25 games, while a normal G League schedule is 50 games. Their schedule will consist of a mixture of G League games, and potentially games against the NBA Academies and national teams from around the world.
“They will be coached by NBA quality head coaches, personnel and staff,” Abdur-Rahim said. “From a competition standpoint, we have our league so we have the ability to incorporate this team, there will be a team [of people] dedicated to this team, it won’t be affiliated with an NBA team.”
From a financial standpoint, it appears as though Green’s deal is in the range of $500,000 for the year, but not all prospects will earn the same amount of cash. Simply, the higher-level recruit you are, the more money you can earn.
Greg Brown, the No. 9 prospect in the country and the last of the top-10 who has yet to decide on his future, could think twice before accepting a college scholarship and instead could choose to enter this new G-League program and gain immediate riches.
Former Michigan commit Isaiah Todd said the decision to forego college and enter the new NBA G League pathway was a “no-brainer” and that he “felt bad” for Michigan fans after making his decision, but knew he had to put himself first.
Players entering this alternative path earn an immediate six-figure salary, something college cannot offer, as well as a college fund in order to go back to school at their pleasure and earn a degree.
The NBA will be lifting its “one and done” rule within the next few years, which will allow athletes to enter the NBA draft right out of high school. Today’s rules require athletes to be one year removed from high school, whether they take a year to train or go to college.
Former NBA Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell is expected to be considered as one of the candidates to lead the team.
By being listed at professional status, Green and other athletes who choose this path are allowed to sign endorsement deals, including sneaker deals that Green expects to be in the upwards of seven figures.
In college, players are still under amateur status, which holds them back from being allowed to sign endorsement deals as well as earn money based on their likeness.
This new path is surely something to keep an eye on as it is going to significantly affect the college route for top recruits across the globe.