On Thursday, March 29, former Syracuse commit Darius Bazley became the first elite high school prospect to bypass college and head for the NBA G-League.
Such a move is essentially a rebuttal to the NCAA’s unwillingness to pay its student-athletes, and furthermore, an opportunity to focus almost exclusively on personal development prior to the following NBA Draft.
Of course, there will be those who are both, for and against that recently-presented opportunity, and Kansas coach Bill Self is among the latter, as he detailed during a Final Four media availability, via ZagsBlog.
“I do believe kids should be able to go out of high school. I don’t believe that they should be able to go to the G League out of high school,” Self said. “To me putting themselves in a situation in the G League where they’re not eligible to be an NBA player, there will be a percentage of kids that make that decision — whether it be academic, whether it be whatever decisions — that will never ever experience being an NBA basketball player. And then what do they have when that’s gone?
As far as a high-level talent such as Bazley is concerned, the odds of an NBA future, with or without college basketball, are quite high. A 5-star small forward ranked as the nation’s No. 8 overall prospect, per the 247Sports Composite, various outlets have projected Bazley as a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and for good reason.
However, projections don’t necessarily prepare even elite talents for the rigors of the NBA, and Self said that’s where problems can arise.
“There’s a lot of kids out there that are really talented that aren’t ready, and college provides them an opportunity to mature, to become ready,” Self added. “And to be honest with you, if they can’t mature and become ready in college, then all you have done is put them in a situation where you gave them an opportunity because if they weren’t ready in college, they certainly weren’t ready when they’re 17 or 18 years old.”
However, regardless of how against the move Bazley made that Self may be, that’s not going to stop what will quite possibly become a trend for high-level prospects.
Bazley was the first, but he surely won’t be the last.