And while Green is certainly not the first future lottery pick to spurn the NCAA — with the likes of LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton choosing to play professionally overseas in Australia this past year — the G League offers an intriguing domestic option for young players looking to monetize their talent before the draft.
Elite prospects such as Green who join the professional pathway program are slated to make over $500,000 in a one-year contract, with additional income opportunities made available through bonuses and sponsorships. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Green’s total “earnings package” could net him over $1 million by the end of the year.
Along with a salary, the program gives athletes access to professional coaches and NBA veterans to help them develop their game before the draft.
The move has turned heads around the college basketball world, and even prompted No. 13-ranked high school prospect Isaiah Todd to de-commit from Michigan and sign with the G League. as well.
Todd and Green will be the cornerstone pieces of a new Southern California-based developmental team that will face off against pre-existing G League teams. Analysts have compared the team to an NBA-sponsored AAU team, traveling the nation on a professional travel ball schedule.
The proposition of allowing top high-school talent to create makeshift super-teams that travel the country and face off against NBA-level competition aligns with the pitch that many college programs give to recruits. However, this novel developmental league from the NBA gives prospects one thing the NCAA cannot: a lucrative salary.
As top Division I programs have adapted to the one-and-done era, fans have become accustomed to witnessing players treat their fleeting college stints as tune-ups for their impending professional careers. The G League alternative allows such players to get paid for this gap-year, giving amateur hoopers the rights to monetize their likeness and prepare for the league without the often-false pretense of a four-year education.
While some may argue that the college experience is irreplaceable, it is without doubt that many high school stars will be closely tracking Green and Todd as they navigate their careers without the help of the NCAA spotlight.
Further, the NBA is expected to do away with the "one-and-done" rule in the near future. With players possibly eligible to jump straight into the NBA from high school, spending a year in the G League might become akin to spending time in the minors for the MLB.
Perhaps the G League experiment will fail, and college basketball remains the one-stop-shop for future professional players. But for players, coaches, and fans alike, Green’s decision may serve as an inflection point as the NCAA slowly transitions away from the one-and-done era.
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