The future of the college basketball model is being challenged in new ways this offseason. After “revelations” that recruits get paid by coaches to attend school, (Shock! Disgust!) we have seen the NCAA attempt to create new rules to combat this tactic. But on Thursday, the NBA G League dropped a bomb that could have a long-lasting impact on recruiting and the sport.
The NBA plans to offer a "professional path" to the G-League with select $125K salaries to players as an alternative to the one-and-done college route, ESPN's @DraftExpress reports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 18, 2018
A few things to unpack here:
Finally, we’re all just honest with one another
This is a good thing. Players who want to get paid for playing basketball will now have an opportunity to get paid for doing so in the United States before they go to the NBA (previously, the only route was abroad). While the FBI investigation showed that some one-and-done players were receiving compensation anyway, this model would be above-board and reward talent with a track that suits their ultimate goals of playing in the NBA. For players that still want a year in school before jumping, they would continue to have that opportunity available to them under this model.
Is this good for Syracuse? Maybe.
We need more information. But in the short-term, Syracuse can probably use this as an opportunity to build up 3- and 4-star recruits as they’ve largely done in the past (save the recent sanctions period), while blueblood schools have recruited the elite kids much harder. Over time, if the deadlines work out in a certain way, I could see schools who miss on high-end recruits try to scoop 4 stars from other schools in a situation that would morph hoops recruiting into something more resembling its football counterpart. But again, all depends on deadlines.
This seems like a palatable future
In reality, this sounds like it could shift the paradigm of college basketball recruiting, removing the desire to get the best kids “right now” and going back to just attracting the best players for your program over the course of a 1-4 year stretch. But we wo’nt really know until a lot of the details are worked out by the G League (where do these players get placed, who pays the salary, etc.) and we get a true test case. Will the next Zion Williamson choose Duke or the G-League? We’ll have to wait and see.