Jalen Green, ranked as the No. 1 basketball recruit in the country by ESPN, is cashing in.
Green will be foregoing the traditional college route and will instead be joining the G League, the NBA’s developmental league, next season, according to league President Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
“We’re thrilled to welcome a player and a person of Jalen’s caliber to the NBA G League,” said Abdur-Rahim in a statement sent to media outlets on Thursday. “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.”
In a video posted to his Twitter, Jalen Green said, “It’s been a crazy exciting experience for me and my family. A lot of opportunities came but the ultimate end goal is to get to the NBA.”
There’s no word yet on what team Green will be playing for. A news release from the G League said the team “will be unaffiliated with any existing NBA G League franchise or NBA team,” but did not provide further details.
But according to Shams Charania, NBA Insider for The Athletic and Stadium, Green will be joining a newly created Los Angeles franchise. Charania estimated Green could earn up to $1 million for the year.
From high school to the NBA
Most basketball players out of high school do at least a year in college before signing up for the NBA Draft. NBA rules stipulate that a player must be at least 19 years old and a year removed from high school to sign up as of 2006.
The rule was made to protect the quality of the league.
But because college basketball doesn’t pay players for their services, more and more top high school recruits are seeking alternatives to cash in on their talents earlier.
Former top prospects LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton, for example, both chose to sign with teams in the National Basketball League in Australia/New Zealand rather than commit to a college in the US.
Both are now slated to be top picks in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Before deciding on going to the G League, Green was considering attending Auburn, Memphis, or Oregon.