Darius Bazley, a projected Top 10 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, has de-committed from Syracuse University to instead play in the NBA G League.
While former top prospects like Brandon Jennings and Emmanuel Mudiay have skipped college to instead play overseas, Bazley will enter uncharted waters.
“The G League will have the most to offer, considering that is the development league for the NBA. I will get more out of that than going overseas. The G League is the closest thing to the NBA. I see most guys now are spending time in the G League even after they went to school and the draft, so this gives me the chance to accelerate the process. There have been a lot of successful guys who have been brought up in the G League, and I’m confident that I will be one of them.”
The 6-foot-9 player can sign a contract in September and will be eligible for the development league’s draft in October.
His contract will reportedly not exceed $26,000 but he will be eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft.
Jeremy Woo expects more top players to do this if and when the G League can offer more compensation (via Sports Illustrated):
“The key variable in more kids following this path likely pertains to the growth of G League salaries, which increased as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Standard contracts remain comparatively meager to the overseas route, or even the estimated dollar value of a one-year college scholarship.”
He recently participated in the McDonald’s All-American game. For what it’s worth, the G League Showcase in January featured 35 players who had once received that honor while in high school.