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Top 2017 Prospect DeAndre Ayton Says High Schoolers May Consider D-League Over College

In a recent interview with SNY, top high school prospect DeAndre Ayton stated that high schools may consider choosing the D-League over college hoops

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This week, top 2017 prospect DeAndre Ayton is finishing up his final summer as a high school prospect by competing in the Nike Peach Jam. In the midst of going against some of the country's best prospects, Ayton took some time from dominating on the court to do a quick interview with SNY.

In that interview with Adam Zagoria, Ayton touched on a variety of topics from his recruiting to the status of top high school prospects spurning college to play basketball somewhere else. While he did discuss the overseas route, with McDonald's All-American Terrance Ferguson electing to play in Australia, Ayton also mentioned that high school prospects were talking about potentially going into the NBA D-League. Ayton said the following:

"Man, I heard a lot of kids, yeah," he said when I asked him about the D-League at the Peach Jam, where he's playing with Cal Supreme. "That's the big talk right now. Yeah, they just looking at it, like man I want to go get this money, stuff like that. But I'm just going to take it step by step and see my where game is at."

Although Ayton would later reiterate that he wants to go to college for at least one seasons, it's still intriguing that high schools are talking up the D-League as a potential destination. Unlike the NBA, high school graduates can be declare for the D-League draft, as players must be 18 years old, as opposed to the NBA where US players have to follow these two rules.

  1. Have your 19th birthday in the same calendar year of the NBA Draft
  2. Be one year removed from high school graduation
With the D-League as a destination, high school graduates will be able to get paid to play basketball in the United States while still following those rules. Alongside of that, they'd get an opportunity to get adjusted to the pace and style of NBA basketball while playing against high-quality competition. Those traits should be especially appealing for these young players, as they'll likely have an easier adjustment to the NBA than the one-and-done prospects coming from NCAA hoops.

While those possibilities have always been there, the D-League should start becoming a more attractive destination in the near future. That's due to the potential rise of NBADL salaries and the continued progression towards the D-League and NBA having a one-to-one relationship. In 2016-17, there will be 22 NBA teams with their own D-League squad, with the Bulls, Hornets and Nets getting their own affiliates.

In that same SNY piece, Zagoria asked Upside & Motor editor and former Ridiculous Upside contributor Chris Reichert about the potential salary increase in the D-League who said the following:
" The reports I've heard on salary increases for the NBADL place the new range around $40K-$100K. I'm not sure those numbers get the elite talent jumping the NCAA ship but they may. "
The appeal of playing in college basketball will always be there, due to the glory that comes with regularly playing on nationally televised games alongside the possibility of playing in the NCAA Tournament. However, that appeal could seem irrelevant if these young players know that they could make up to $100k by playing basketball in the D-League.

Whatever the future may hold, it's still extremely significant that the D-League is actually looked at as a distinct possibility for the top high school players.