By Matt Ferris
On Thursday, Oct. 18, the NBA announced that its G League will soon be offering an alternative league to college basketball.
This is huge news for up-and-coming NBA prospects as well as the NCAA.
In recent years, many elite prospects coming out of high school have been lured to big NCAA programs by money.
Many programs have been illegally offering big-time players money to attend their schools, and while a lot of programs have been caught, a good number of them haven’t and skate by unpunished.
But this could all soon come to an end as the NBA is providing a “one-and-done” alternative allowing players to legally earn money for themselves and their families.
Starting in the summer of 2019, the G League will offer a select few highly-rated high school prospects contracts in the G League.
The contracts will pay high school graduates, who are at least 18 years old, $125,000 for one year.
The players then can compete against good competition – some players who have already seen NBA action – and build up their stock for the upcoming draft.
Playing in the G League, the NBA’s developmental league, could be a huge advantage for elite NBA prospects.
Playing against grown men, who are stronger and more skilled than college athletes, might prepare these 18-year-olds much better than the NCAA, not to mention their getting paid to play.
It will allow these young kids to get into NBA-level weight rooms, play games at NBA speed, and most importantly, be around players who have experience playing in the NBA.
This could also serve as a test run for the NBA to see if recent high school graduates can compete at a high level against real NBA talent.
If the dry run succeeds, you could see the NBA change its draft rules and allow players to jump straight from high school to the pros in the near future.
The G League is going to start offering players $125,000 to play, but NCAA programs have been known to offer players significantly more value than this.
Just in recent memory, it was reported that the number one overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Deandre Ayton, received $100,000 to commit to the University of Arizona. But on top of this, he was also given a full scholarship to attend the school, making the value of his deal well over $125,000, even though illegal.
Competing with the NCAA’s education benefits could prove to be the biggest threat for the G League’s future venture.
But if the G League and the NBA pull this off, and get the right people to represent the new league, and show that playing in the G League won’t hurt draft stock, we could see an end of an era in the NCAA.
Sure, the NCAA won’t fold for good, and will still have good competition and make millions and millions of dollars every year, but we might never see the top high-school recruits play in the NCAA again.