RJ Hampton has finally made his long-awaited college decision after reclassifying from the 2020 recruiting class to the 2019 recruiting class. The top five recruit has decided to skip the NCAA altogether and will play professionally in New Zealand before the 2020 NBA Draft. The announcement came Tuesday morning on ESPN’s morning show “Get Up”.
RJ Hampton (ranked No. 5 recruit in ESPN Top 100) will forgo college to play professionally in Australia's NBL. pic.twitter.com/xWmh7V5RaF
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 28, 2019
The top recruit decided against going to Kansas, Memphis, or Texas Tech in favor of the New Zealand Breakers. He credited NBA star Luka Doncic as one of his favorite players and proof that players don’t have to play in the NCAA to make the NBA and be successful. The young guard also stated it was never his dream to play college basketball, but to make it to the NBA.
RJ Hampton explains why he said no to college basketball.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 28, 2019
Several five-star recruits have attempted the overseas route with mixed results and the young guard will have to prove himself worthy in New Zealand. His father was quoted saying the move will make his son more NBA prepared than the NCAA will. The success of the guard could be an indicator of how future recruits decide to jump to the NBA.
The 2020 NBA draft will be an interesting indicator of how NBA teams view super talented players like Hampton who forgo college basketball. This situation is vastly different from the one where Emmanuel Mudiay decided to play in China. The 2019 guard is already highly skilled and could probably jump straight to the NBA more successfully than Muiday had the option been open to the players. The move is unfortunate for the Kansas Jayhawks, but the career of the young guard will be closely watched by many.