After initially announcing his plans to use the G League as a precursor to a successful NBA career, well regarded high school prospect Darius Bazley has decided against playing in the minor league.
When Bazley declared he would forgo college and playing in the NCAA, his suggested alternate path through the G League received attention and fanfare. As a top-ten high school athlete, he was set to become a guinea pig of sorts as a high profile case —- a player some may regard as already prepared for the NBA at 18 years old —- in hopes that the G League could become a more opportune destination for such youngsters moving forward.
However, Bazley and his group have decided there’s less upside in it for him.
Speaking with Shams Charania, the young gun said, “Talking about it over with my group, we felt confidently that the G League wasn’t going to be needed and now I can use this time to work on my craft.”
He later added, “there’s no upside in the G League. If you play well, it’s expected. If you don’t play well, you’re not NBA-ready. That’s what they’ll say. For me, working out and preparing is the best route.”
A prospect choosing to train on their own, turning down collegiate AND professional opportunities, is a road far less traveled than that of the one where an athlete chooses to play overseas while waiting for their turn in the NBA. In recent years, the likes of Brandon Jennings, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Terrance Ferguson have all opted to play internationally as teenagers. All three have gone on to experience relative NBA success at some point. One could argue that facing professional competition served as the education they needed to prepare for the next level.
Instead, Bazley will choose to follow in the footsteps of Mitchell Robinson, who trained at home last season after choosing an independent study of sorts over a short tenure at Western Kentucky. The Knicks selected him with the 36th overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft and he showed great promise and athleticism during NBA Summer League.
After putting his trust into his group that this path is the right way to go, Bazley will embark on a near-year long journey to not only stay ready, but further his NBA potential as the 2019 NBA Draft nears. All the while, he will need to continue making good decisions about how hard he works and who he works with. Whether they receive a crash course in college or overseas, prospects normally benefit from extended structure, advisement, and relative supervision as they come into their own as adults. Bazley won’t necessarily have that same luxury moving forward, so it is up to him to put his faith in the right people and stay the course.