NBA Rumor: G League Prospect Signings

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“We are thrilled to be able to offer Princepal the opportunity to begin his professional basketball journey in the NBA G League,” said Abdur-Rahim. “We’ve long hoped that our development pathway for elite high school players would include roster spots for emerging international talent, including players who have participated in the NBA Academy program, and we’re excited to have Princepal forge this new path and develop his skills in our league.”

Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway, no stranger to the nuances and hurdles of the recruiting trail, says it will only get tougher with the entry of the G League. Hardaway, speaking to ESPN’s The Jump in an interview aired Thursday, said it came as an unpleasant surprise when the NBA began allowing high school players to sign with a G League pathway program. “It’s going to have a huge impact, because it’s just a recruiting war right now when it comes to that,” Hardaway said. “But I think it’s going to affect us because we’re recruiting a bunch of five-stars.”

Memphis’ top target Jalen Green decided to go the NBA’s G-League path. Two other 5-star players decommited from their schools to play a year in the G-League instead. Some of the best young talent has been taken away from the college game. “Taking guys out of their commitments and they’ve already signed and continuing talking to their parents, it’s almost like tampering,” Memphis basketball head coach Penny Hardaway said. “I don’t agree with that.”

“My issue with the G League trying to entice players by giving them more money, is not the kids that you’re getting,” Calipari said Monday during his weekly “Coffee with Cal” web show featuring guest Charles Barkley. “It’s the thousands of ninth and 10th graders that think that’s how they’re going to make it, when you and I know it’s going to be 2%. We’re not talking 50. It will be thousands and thousands and thousands.”

Part of the G League’s motivation to increase the value of these contracts is to keep players like R.J. Hampton from going to Australia in the future. “They’re talking about we don’t want them to go to Australia, New Zealand,” Calipari said. “They’re not talking that many kids. ‘We don’t want to have to go travel.’ Well, you’re going to have to travel to see these kids anyway… I want to see in the next four or five years, the kids that chose to go to college, how they did. The money you’re going to get (from the G League) is negligible compared to what you will get if you really are good and get to your second (NBA) contract.”


After signing high school stars Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd to six-figure contracts that made headlines nationally, NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim is still targeting more young players to join the new pathway. The G League missed out on Texas power forward Greg Brown, who on Friday announced his plan to play for the University of Texas instead of accepting a $300,000 deal in the G League. “Yeah, I think there’s options out there to add more and they don’t have to be high school guys, they can be young international guys,” Abdur-Rahim, the No. 3 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, said in a phone interview. “We’ve had conversations there but there is opportunity for more of the high school guys, more young guys, to be a part of the program this year. If not, with Jalen and Isaiah, we think it’s totally fine.”
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July 31, 2021 | 3:05 am EDT Update
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