Here’s what to make about consensus top three prospect Jalen Green’s decision to forgo college basketball (whether that be at Auburn and Memphis) and go to the NBA G-League.
First, things first. The G-League has become a great option recently for top prospects. Spend a year in the developmental league and then move on to the real thing. Playing basketball and being paid in the G-League has to be a more enticing option for Green, considering the uncertainty of schools opening on time and thus the start of the college basketball season.
A big con for Green’s G-League decision is that he doesn’t get the exposure that players like Zion Williamson and Trae Young, got to turn into top five picks in the NBA Draft. Players like Williamson got to be on national television at least thirty times during their lone seasons playing college basketball. Plus everyone watches them for three weeks in March.
It’s a tough hit for Penny Hardaway’s program at Memphis. Memphis is far removed from their top ranked class in 2019. Hardaway’s plan was to pair Green with fellow uncommitted top ten prospect Greg Brown. But all signs point to Brown staying home and signing with Texas. Bruce Pearl and Auburn have had a successful 2020 recruiting cycle so its nothing more than a guy they lost to another team or school.
Jalen Green’s decision is made even bigger considering the fact that next year’s recruiting cycle (the 2021 class) is widely considered the last class with “one and done” rule in place. The NCAA will make changes that will likely take high school basketball back to a place where top prospects can enter the NBA after their senior years in high school. College basketball will be greatly effected by this but that’s for another post.