We’ve seen some promising NBA hopeful prospects take a few roads less traveled in the last decade or so, as an alternative to big time college basketball. Brandon Jennings decided to forgo playing college basketball in the summer of 2008, and signed with a professional team in the Italian league. LaMelo Ball, the third pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, also decided to take his talents abroad instead of playing in college, competing in Lithuania and Australia before suiting up for the Charlotte Hornets last month.
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Darius Bazley had an even more unorthodox path to the pros. The young player committed to Syracuse University of out of high school, but then rescinded that intention in favor of taking a year off to prepare for the draft individually, and intern with New Balance as part of a marketing educational experience.
But perhaps the hottest new development track to an NBA career involves joining the league’s official minor league system, branded the “G League” due to the league’s partnership with Gatorade. Within the past couple of years, the G League has created incentives for top high school talent to sign on with them, instead of pursuing an opportunity with a university in the United States or another professional team abroad. A plethora of talented players have joined the G League for the 2020-2021 season, including guys like Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd.
According to 247sports, Green is the 2rd ranked player in the incoming 2020 class, while Todd is slotted in at number 20. If the two players, who are teammates on a team called the “Ignite” in the G League, can hone their skills and show that this avenue of progression is worthwhile, it stands to reason that other Mcdonalds All Americans may soon follow suit.
“A lot of opportunities have came,” Green said. “But the ultimate end goal is to get to the NBA. So with that being said, I’ve decided to partner with the NBA G-League’s new team for elite players.” Via 20top