Every high school basketball player’s dream was to play in college. From being the star on campus to play in March Madness. College basketball used to be the goal for any high school basketball player before entering into the NBA.
But times have change as high school players are taking a different route instead of going college. High school basketball players are starting to go professional before entering the league.
Examples include LaMelo Ball when he played in the Australian League. Also, Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga played with the G-League Ignite in the G-league bubble last season. But that’s nothing compared to what five-star recruit Jalen Lewis decision that he made today.
Lewis signed a one-million dollar contract to play in the Overtime Elite League via Shams Charania of the Athletic. He became the youngest player in history to turn pro at only 16 years old. Lewis had offers from Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Michigan, and UCLA. He will have to forfeit his eligibility to play in college since he decided to go professional in high school.
Lewis’s decision came a week after the NCAA’s major change to student athletes getting sponsored. The NCAA announced made was on the new rule to allow student-athletes to use their name, image, and likeness. The new rule doesn’t mean that players like Lewis will play in college. . Here is my take on why college basketball could see a decline in talent in the future.
Is College Basketball Died?
When I first heard the NCAA is allowing players to used their name, image, and likeness. I was happy for the student-athletes. In particular, those student-athletes who need help paying for tuition and textbooks.
I wasn’t thinking about it the most because this new rule will attract five-star athletes to play college basketball. When Lewis made his announcement today, that idea went entirely down the drain. The part that shocked me the most was the amount of money he will be making on joining the league. That didn’t even include sponsorships or even a shoe deal.
To me, I am all for players going out and making money for themselves to help support family and friends. That line is, are these players in it for themselves to make the big bucks rather than play for the love of the game.
The main reason why fans love college basketball is that the players play for pride. College athletes aren’t playing for money or bonuses. But instead, they’re playing for their team, fellow students, and community. Now, with the new NCAA NIL rule and players are going pro. The sense of pride in being on a team is starting to go away.
The new G-league path program and Overtime League are not going away soon. I hope that the players make the right decision for their family, friends, and themselves. But also to make sure they’re smart about what they’re signing up for and having the proper guidance. As time goes on, I hope that they’re a handful of players who remember the pride of playing for each other rather than just thinking about themselves.