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G League aims to change path to the NBA

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G League aims to change path to the NBA

The new rule allows young players to bypass college and start their professional basketball career immediately.

The new rule allows young players to bypass college and start their professional basketball career immediately.

Lauren Vanden Bosch

The new rule allows young players to bypass college and start their professional basketball career immediately.

Lauren Vanden Bosch

Lauren Vanden Bosch

The new rule allows young players to bypass college and start their professional basketball career immediately.

Nick Van Hekken, Sports Editor

Recently, the NBA’s G League announced a possible alternate route to the NBA for talented, young basketball prospects.

Beginning this summer, “the G League will offer ‘Select Contracts’ worth $125,000 to elite prospects who are at least 18 years old but not yet eligible for the NBA draft,” ESPN wrote.

Right now, the typical path to the NBA is from high school, to college, to the professional league. For most high level players, however, their time in college is usually short-lived, as after only one season in the NCAA, they pursue their dreams of playing in the NBA.

Over the past decade or so, these “one-and-done” athletes have become the focal point in a large debate circulating the basketball world. Many people believe that “one-and-dones” are ruining college basketball because programs can’t create long-term success. Others feel that the players are justified in leaving early since they aren’t being paid and they are only risking injuries if they continue to play in college.

I understand and agree with both sides of the argument. It is frustrating watching college programs have to rebuild year in and year out after losing their star players. For a team like Duke who gets some of the top prospects every year, they have to keep bringing in talent because of the players they lose to the NBA at the end of each season. Outside of the basketball aspect, I believe that attending college is beneficial for the players, because if their basketball careers don’t work out, they will at least have a college degree.

On the other hand, when there are millions of dollars waiting for these players in the NBA, it is very difficult to continue playing in college. At the college level, the athletes don’t get paid, and they are only risking career-threatening injuries. Most players don’t play college basketball to be in college rather they play because it is a critical step in order to get drafted into the NBA. This is why I believe the new G League contracts may catch on.

Because it is so new and it will take a few years to see the results, I do not think the Select Contracts will be popular right away. However, I feel that the G League’s new plan has the potential to capture some attention, and it could be a successful alternative path to the NBA.

It will allow these highly talented basketball prospects to take a year of development against solid competition in the G League while on a $125,000 contract. It will be interesting to see if high school players will take these contracts as an alternative to college, and if the G League will help them reach the NBA.

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G League aims to change path to the NBA