Five Star recruit R.J. Hampton appeared on the ESPN morning show “Get Up” to discuss his basketball future, but what came next shocked the basketball world. Hampton announced that he would bypass college and would be signing a professional contract with the New Zealand Breakers, of the NBL. The Australian league has become a well respected league in recent years with players like Andrew Bogut of the Warriors, Terrance Ferguson of the Oklahoma City Thunder both playing in the league. Ferguson passed on college as well and elected to play in the league.
Hampton had this to say on his decision:
“My dream has never been to play college basketball”.
This is something that was bound to happen sooner than later. With players realizing younger and younger what their true worth and value is as a basketball player it was only a matter of time before a prospect as high as Hampton bypassed college. These players and families are starting to wake up and realize how much money is being made off the backs of their sons without equal compensation. The age of player empowerment is in full swing, and this is another great example of a player embracing this moment and taking his career into his own hands.
Hampton’s family will be joining him as well so he will have his support system in place. His move may not be for everyone this years can’t miss prospect Zion Williamson has stated on the record how much he enjoyed his time at Duke, and by all intensive purposes given the opportunity would probably relive his college experience again. That is fine if a player wants to go to college by all means go, but if a 18 year old is old enough to vote and serve his country he should be allowed to have the option to make a living playing basketball in this country or abroad.
Just this past season the number 14th prospect Darius Bazley decommitted from Syracuse and signed a $1 million dollar ground breaking internship deal with the shoe company New Balance. At the time this was looked as a risky proposition, and his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports had to deal with the backlash. Say what you want about Bazley’s decision it appears that it will workout for him. He has been nothing short of impressive in his workouts and is now slated to be a mid to late first round pick in this years upcoming draft.
The number one question is does this mean that now every top recruit is going to pass on college? The answer is of course not, but the NCAA does seem to have a problem on their hands. If they don’t fix this flawed system in the near future you are going to have the number one prospect bypassing on college at a chance to make some real money either overseas, or in the G-League along with a multi-million dollar shoe deal. Today was definitely a historic day and congrats and salute to R.J. Hampton for taking his future into his own hands. Well done young man well done!