Jalen Green, a five-star high school prospect, has opted to skip over a college basketball career and will instead join the NBA/G League’s professional pathway program.
Green is one of the top high school basketball recruits in the country and was rumored to join several prestigious college basketball programs including Auburn, Memphis, or Oregon. Instead of attending college, Green will enter a revamped version of the G League’s select contract program that previously allowed players to forgo college and play in the G League for $125,000. In this new program, Green will reportedly make more $500,000 while also being able to get endorsements and train with veteran players and professional coaches, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Instead of being allocated to a team in the G League, the league will be creating a new team based in Los Angeles that will be headlined by Green and will be unaffiliated with any NBA or G League team.
G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim expressed his excitement towards Green’s decision in a statement on the league website.
“We’re thrilled to welcome a player and a person of Jalen’s caliber to the NBA G League,” said Abdur-Rahim. “He represents the next generation of NBA players, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him develop his professional skills in our league. Jalen will learn from an NBA-caliber coaching and player development staff as he begins his professional basketball journey in the NBA G League.”
Green is now the first high profile player to enter the league through this program. Many top prospects have forgone a college career in recent years, including LaMelo Ball, R.J. Hampton, and Darius Bazley—Ball and Hampton chose to play in Australia while Bazley interned with New Balance—but did not pursue a career in the G League, most likely due to the lucrative salaries available in overseas leagues. Fellow five-star prospect Isaiah Todd, who recently decommited from Michigan, is also expected to join Green on the new Los Angeles G League team, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
With the one-and-done rule likely on its way out for the NBA and the experiences of players like James Wiseman, who lost his college season due to a recruiting violation, many prospects are looking to places other than college as a way to get into the league. The revamping of this program and the fact high profile players like Green and Todd opted to join the G League over college is a huge win for the NBA’s developmental league and could lead to more promising prospects entering the league this way.