The G League’s new venture potentially could shake up NCAA basketball as we know it.
The organization announced Thursday it will offer “Select Contracts” worth up to $125,000 to top high school prospects who don’t want to go down the NCAA’s one-and-done route.
“Select Contracts are an answer to the basketball community’s call for additional development options for elite players before they are eligible for the NBA,” NBA G League president Malcolm Turner said in a statement. “The supporting infrastructure surrounding these newly-created Select Contracts is designed to provide a rich offering of basketball and life skills developmental tools for top young players to grow along their professional paths from high school to the pros.”
The program offers year-round training both on and off the court with the opportunity to receive scholarships to higher education programs should they decide to return to school after their basketball career.
Currently, players must be 19 (or one year removed from high school) before entering the NBA Draft. The vast majority prospects enroll in a college program, while some play overseas for a year and return to the United States to be drafted.
Per NCAA rules, college players cannot hire an agent, have sponsorships or make money off their name/likeness. With the G League’s “Select Contracts,” they are able to have an agent and dive into the advertising game without being penalized.
Players will be able to sign a Select Contract if they are 18 by Sept. 15. There is no age limit to signing the G League contracts, but a player cannot be given one if he has already been through an NBA Draft.
The new venture comes less than three years before the NBA is expected to lower the draft age from 19 to 18, meaning players can go straight to the NBA from high school. However, the G League hopes this program can be a stepping stone for some athletes who still need to hone their craft and get acclimated to NBA life.