The Dynamics of College Sports Are Changing. So Are the Business Prospects.
“If you’re going to go into a professional league, you’re going to have to become an adult,” Lively said. “You’re going to have to pay bills, buy houses, buy apartments and all that. If you go to college, you’ve pretty much taken care of everything. It’s going to be a tough decision to make: do you want to stay in college for a year or go to a professional league for a year and play against adult men and get out of it?
For years after the NBA banned its teams from recruiting players straight out of high school, starting in 2006, there were few places to go outside of college as a step between high school and the NBA.
In recent years, however, other options have surfaced: Darius Bazley, now with the Oklahoma City Thunder, spent 2018-19 as a New Balance “intern”, on an endorsement deal. which assured him at least $ 1 million (and as much as $ 14 million). LaMelo Ball, this season’s best rookie with the Charlotte Hornets, and RJ Hampton, now with the Orlando Magic, spent the 2019-20 season playing in the Australian Professional League. And four players last year, including Jalen Green, a top prospect in next month’s draft, moved from high school to the G League. Overtime Elite, an upstart league, will also pay six-figure salaries to players still in high school, while another new venture, the Professional Collegiate League, plans to pay players $ 50,000 to $ 150,000 on top of allowances. for tuition fees.
Rod Strickland, who is recruiting talent for the G League, was in Las Vegas this month, with NBA scouts from almost every team, at the Pangos All-American Camp, which over the years has attracted future stars like James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and Trae Young. (College coaches were not allowed to attend live events during this time, although they could watch live.)
Many eyes at camp were on Duren, a muscular 6-10 forward whose perimeter shooting has developed enough for an NBA scout to draw comparisons to Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo. Duren, who has planned recruiting visits to Miami, Memphis and Kentucky this summer, said college coaches have spoken widely to him about making money with his name, mentioning jersey signings or basketball camps , but that he hadn’t given much thought to the possibilities.
“It has never been and never will be about the money,” said Duren, who, by the end of the summer, plans to decide whether to attend college or pursue a career path. and whether to finish high school earlier. “This next step, I’m just looking at how to improve myself, how to develop myself. I don’t know where it’s going to be. I’m still figuring it out. Some people think that if you give a kid money, they’ll go that route, but I’m not one of those kids. I just want to improve myself, and I love the game too much to cheat on it that way.
Still, with solid social media following, a glowing smile – “Her smile is beautiful; it melts your heart, ”said Drysdale – and the attention that comes to being considered the best high school player in the country by some people, there will be some value in that very soon.
Duren’s 10 NFTs from Pangos Camp, priced highest at $ 299 apiece, sold out quickly.
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