Projected 2019 lottery pick Darius Bazley has decommitted from Syracuse and will instead sign a G League contract when he’s eligible to do so next September, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports writes. The decision is unprecedented for a player of Bazley’s stature coming out of high school.
Since individuals are eligible to sign G League contracts one year sooner than they’re eligible to declare for the NBA Draft, the soon-to-be 18-year-old will be free to do so in September, months after finishing high school in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Those familiar with the 2019 NBA Draft landscape may already know that Bazley has established himself as an intriguing 6’9″ playmaker. The wing’s ball handling and ability to contribute defensively will make him a tantalizing prospect as he navigates the uncharted territory.
While highly regarded high school prospects have skipped the NCAA to play overseas prior to entering the NBA Draft previously, this is the first time a player as celebrated as Bazley, a 2018 McDonald’s All-American, will forego college for a year in the G League where player salaries are capped around $30K. In contrast, Emmanuel Mudiay signed a one-year deal in China worth $1.2MM following his final year of high school in 2014.
“I’m aware that this might start a trend and that’s one of the reasons why I am doing this,” Bazley told Yahoo Sports. “I’m outspoken and I like to speak on things. This is me speaking through my actions, speaking through my character. This is going to happen down the road and become more common. But someone has to start the fire — and I believe I’m going to do that, and it’s very important to me.“