Five-star prospect and McDonald’s All American Darius Bazley’s decision to go straight from high school to the G League could change the way many players think about the road to playing professional basketball.
An unnamed NBA executive told Yahoo Sports that Bazley’s decision “has the ability to alter rules moving forward and show prospects the G League is a true option.”
“As the G League grows, the way teams develop players under NBA styles and under NBA eyes, it makes sense,” another team executive said of the move. “There’s no new culture in the G League, nothing out of the NBA norm, and you’re growing in an NBA environment. It could open the floodgates for players who want to focus on basketball and development, first and foremost.
Bazley himself said he’s aware of the implications of his decision. “I’m aware that this might start a trend and that’s one of the reasons why I am doing this,” he told Yahoo Sports. “I’m outspoken and I like to speak on things. This is me speaking through my actions, speaking through my character. This is going to happen down the road and become more common. But someone has to start the fire — and I believe I’m going to do that, and it’s very important to me.
The G League currently pays its players base salaries of $19,500 or $26,000. Bazley’s decision comes amid heated debate over the NCAA’s current rules around amateurism in college sports.
Bazley said he sees his decision as precedent setting. “There’s no reason to be afraid,” he said. “Players are doing this, going overseas, but just not to the G League. I believe this will transcend and people will start to realize this is OK to do. People will always say, ‘He did it, why can’t I?’ That’s going to start … ‘Darius went to the G League instead of going to college, ‘Why can’t I?’ ”