One of the top high school basketball prospects in the country made the decision regarding his future on Tuesday morning and may have set a precedent in the process.
RJ Hampton, the 5th ranked player in the Class of 2019 announced on ESPN’s “Get Up” that he will forgo his college eligibility to sign with the Australian Basketball League.
Hampton will play for the New Zealand Breakers, one of the top teams in the league having won four of the past nine league championships and is also co-owned by former NBA All-Star Shawn Marion.
In the past, players like Brandon Jennings and Emmanuel Mudiay have also taken this route after high school but that was due to academic eligibility concerns for each player. Hampton didn’t have that issue and is strictly doing this to focus on basketball which is his ultimate goal.
“My No. 1 goal is to play in the NBA,” Hampton told ESPN. “I wanted to be an NBA player before I ever wanted to be a college player. This is about getting ready for the next level faster and more efficiently. Both of my parents went to college. My mom got her master’s degree. Education is a big thing in our family, but this is about focusing 100 percent on basketball. You can always go back to college, but there’s only a short window as an athlete where you can play professional basketball, and I want to take advantage of that. I think that challenging yourself on a daily basis is the best way to improve.”http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/26836790/hampton-skips-college-new-zealand-pro-ball
The 6’5, 188-pound guard is a projected top 10 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and was being recruited by the top schools in the country including Kansas, Memphis, Duke, and Kentucky. Hampton re-classified in late April in order to play college basketball this upcoming fall but obviously, the professional options came to the table.