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Darius Bazley opts for G League, won’t play for Syracuse (per report)


High School Basketball: McDonalds High School All American Powerade Jamfest Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Remember how happy you were when you thought the Syracuse Orange were getting a five-star forward to add to an experienced and promising team for 2018-19?

Welp, treasure those moments. Because it wouldn’t be a Syracuse offseason without this entire fan base (and the process of covering the program) getting thrown for a complete loop.

Top-10 prospect Darius Bazley, fresh off an 11-point performance in the McDonald’s All-American game, will head straight to the NBA G League according to a report from Yahoo’s Shams Charania. We knew in advance he’d likely be a lottery pick in 2019. But by going to the G League, he’ll be showing his skills against fellow pros and earning some money while doing so.

Bazley sounds pretty confident in the decision too, according to the interview with Yahoo:

“I’m self-motivated because I know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is how I want to make a living. This is how I want to provide for my family, and provide for my love of basketball. I’m not playing any games with this. I’m attacking this straight forward. I’m not maneuvering around this, take any side steps. I’m taking this head on. This is the decision that I made, and I know it will work. I know what I’m capable of doing, and I’m going to do just that.”

From a Syracuse fan perspective, this obviously sucks for the team next year -- just when we thought we were getting back on solid ground as a program. But from a personal perspective, you can’t really blame Bazley for taking the route that was open for him here. While he might have been talking about his “future teammates” during the McDonald’s All-American Game, there was something else on the mind: his basketball future. One year in college has the potential to help a player’s stock rise, but that’s also no guarantee.

By opting for the G League (the first player to do so), Bazley is making his own guarantees about his future.

We wish Bazley the best going forward, and we don’t begrudge him for making that decision (and you shouldn’t either). It’s just... oof. Another offseason of some sort of turmoil for Syracuse. There’s no calm, just storm, and that’s exhausting to sit through over time. The Orange will be fine and so will we, though. There’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic about 2018-19.