Jaden Hardy was one of the few five-star recruits left in the class of 2021, but he has decided to sign with the NBA G-League Ignite Team. This relatively new NBA initiative is a path for high school students to directly make money and an alternative to college basketball. Hardy will be making a six-figure salary over the next year in preparation for the 2022 NBA Draft. There are currently four high-profile Ignite players in the 2021 NBA Draft. This will continue to be an interesting project and the early players involved could set the standard.
— Tipton Edits (@TiptonEdits) September 16, 2020
Hardy was long considered a likely G-League Ignite bound player but he did consider the UCLA Bruins, Kentucky Wildcats, Oregon Ducks, and some other programs. Hardy is talented and may not need that year in college basketball to fine-tune his skills. He should be an NBA Lottery pick regardless of his decision on where he will play college basketball next year. Hardy is listed at 6’4″ and 190 pounds with a perfect skill set for an NBA combo guard. This decision was hard thought out and now the young combo guard can play professional basketball.
The success of 2021 prospects like Jalen Green and 2022 prospects like Jaden Hardy could determine the future of the new program. This will continue to be an option for high school prospects and may become even more popular if college basketball doesn’t allow its players to profit off their own likeness. There has been a long period where college basketball went unchallenged, but this could be the beginning of a new era. College basketball will be fine without some five-stars, but the more that leave the more it could hurt.