LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Jalen Green, one of the top basketball recruits in the country, is forgoing college to play on a new NBA G-League team in Los Angeles for an estimated half-a-million dollars.
A senior guard at Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif., Green is the first high school player ever to sign a Select Contract with the G-League under the NBA’s new professional path initiative.
“The ultimate end goal is to get to the NBA, so that being said, I’ve decided to partner with the NBA G-League’s new team for elite players,” Green announced on his Instagram page Thursday.
Green, who ESPN has slated as its No. 1 recruit in the nation, will play for a new G-League team in development in L.A, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. No details were released about the makeup of the new team, but it is expected to include other elite prospects like Green.
“If I really do change the route for high school kids to do this…I think it would be a crazy thing. The fact that I’m leaving this and starting a new route opens this up for other kids,” Green told CBS San Francisco Thursday.
The contract will pay Green about $500,000 for next season, ESPN reports. The 2019-20 season has been suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.
On Friday, the G-League announced that Isaiah Todd, a prospect from Richmond, Va., had followed suit and also agreed to sign a Select Contract. Todd is ranked No. 13 on ESPN’s board.
The NBA’s professional path initiative, which was first unveiled in October 2018, is offered only to prospects deemed elite who are at least 18 years old, but are not yet eligible to enter the NBA draft. It was specifically designed for players who would like to forego college and get a headstart on their professional careers, but don’t want to play overseas.
Players who sign Select Contracts can then enter the NBA Draft the following season.
The NCAA has faced a growing wave of criticism in recent years over its insistence that it not pay its athletes.
Last September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill which paves the way for NCAA athletes to get paid. It allows them to hire agents, make money from endorsements, and get paid for the use of their likeness or image.
In response to the bill, the NCAA Board of Governors in October voted to start the process of allowing student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image or likeness.