Before his announcement Tuesday, RJ Hampton’s crystal ball prediction said there was a 75% chance that he would commit to Kansas. Yeah, it’s okay, I didn’t see this coming either.
So what is his way? RJ announced on “Get Up” that he will be joining the New Zealand Breakers in the NBL. Hampton is widely considered a potential top 5 pick in the 2020 NBA draft. However, he’s elected to take the unconventional route to the NBA.
Two current NBA players have taken this similar route as well, Terrance Ferguson and Emmanuel Mudiay. While both are too young to make a judgement on the success of their careers, neither one of them have made a big impression in their limited NBA days. Safe to say neither Ferguson nor Mudiay were able to raise their draft stock by playing overseas.
RJ Hampton (ranked No. 5 recruit in ESPN Top 100) will forgo college to play professionally in Australia’s NBL. pic.twitter.com/xWmh7V5RaF
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 28, 2019
Either way, I can’t imagine Jayhawks fans are too thrilled that their crystal ball prospect that they bet so much on is now walking out the door to go play overseas. Hampton wanted to do things his way, so let’s discuss.
So what will make RJ Hampton different? To be honest, I don’t really think it will make a difference. By not playing in college he’ll likely miss out on a lot of the National exposure compared to other draft prospects that will be shining for top College programs. And in my opinion that’s too good of an opportunity for those top prospects to pass up on. After a year college prospects can move on to enter the NBA afterwards and collect their check.
One big factor that I think plays a role in to a decision like this is the potential of getting hurt and being left with nothing. If Hampton does get hurt, he’s still collecting a paycheck in New Zealand that ranges from $300,000-$600,000 for top tier players according to the HeraldSun.
To counter that let’s take a look at some examples that will disprove this theory:
Michael Porter Jr.:
Played three games in his college career and he was still taken number 14 by the Denver Nuggets. If you were curious his rookie contract could make him up to $15.4 million dollars over the course of 4 years.
Darius Garland: A lock to be a top 10 pick in this year’s upcoming draft despite only playing in five games for Vanderbilt.
These two guys, despite suffering two season ending injuries are still going to secure the bag.
In response to this however, the NBA does need to lower its draft age back to 18. Guys need to be given the option to join the NBA if they think that they’re in fact ready.
Now lets say Hampton plays well in New Zealand, what does he gain from it? Sure he gets his paycheck for the season, but what else? His draft stock goes up? Does a successful season in the NBL outweigh what a successful season at Kansas would do? It’s hard to say.
This won’t be the last high school prospect that will try to make his name by playing overseas. NBA scouts will definitely be keeping a close eye on the 6’5 point guard over the next year to see how he develops. This is a trend I don’t think will catch on anytime soon.
Disagree? Leave a comment and let’s discuss.