Darius Bazley Won’t Play In G League After All

Top 2019 draft prospect Darius Bazley has opted not to play in the G League during the 2018/19 season after all, he tells Shams Charania of The Athletic. Instead of playing professionally, Bazley will take the year to train and prepare for the next stage of his career.

Bazley, a 6’9″ forward who had originally planned to play with Syracuse in 2018/19, decommitted from the college program in March and announced his intentions to spend a season in the G League before becoming draft-eligible in 2019. However, he no longer considers it necessary to play in the NBAGL after having talked it over with his “group.”

“It’s mainly me talking to [agent] Rich [Paul], he knows so much, and whenever he speaks my ears perk up,” Bazley told Charania. “When Miles [Bridges] was in Cleveland for his predraft workouts, whenever he got a chance to work out in front of NBA teams, I was working out in the gym, too. So that played a part in it, me playing well in those workouts for us to say there’s no upside in the G League. If you play well, it’s expected. If you don’t play well, you’re not NBA-ready. That’s what they’ll say. For me, working out and preparing is the best route.”

If he had signed a G League contract, Bazley would have been eligible for the league’s 2018 draft, and likely would’ve been the first overall pick, meaning he would have had little control over whether or not he landed with one of the NBAGL’s better developmental programs. The 18-year-old touched on that issue – and explained his concerns about the G League in general – when he spoke to Charania about his decision.

“The G League is the only league where winning might not be everything,” Bazley said. “Development is the most important aspect, but guys are playing for the team and at the same time trying to play for themselves. That’s not the type of guy I am. For me in those settings to just get mine, I’ve never been brought up that way. I feel basketball is a team sport and everybody is supposed to eat. In the G League, that’s not the way it is. Everyone is trying to get an opportunity to go to the NBA.”

Bazley projects as a first-round pick – and potentially a lottery selection – in next year’s NBA draft. However, his decision to pass on the G League comes after an appearance at the Nike Basketball Academy earlier this month that was described by some experts and scouts as underwhelming.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony suggested at the time that there was speculation among scouts at the event that Bazley could back out of his G League plans and take the Mitchell Robinson route — the Knicks big man, a second-round pick in June, sat out the 2017/18 season before becoming draft-eligible this spring.

Meanwhile, Bazley’s decision shows that the G League still has some work to do in order to be viewed as a genuinely appealing alternative for top prospects who are looking for other options outside of the NCAA.

“This shows the impact of the rules now that have taken away the flexibility for a five-star prospect to enter the league,” one NBA executive said to Charania. “Each team in the G League is not the same in terms of resources and development.”

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10 thoughts on “Darius Bazley Won’t Play In G League After All

  1. Hopefully he has a good year training & developing, seems like a very good prospect for the league, what an exciting new batch of talent coming next year.

    • hiflew

      Or worse, he is an 18 year old, without enough life skills, making the wrong decisions. A guy may or may not be ready for the NBA physically, but college teaches a lot more than that. Learning to deal with travel, learning how to live away from home, learning how to deal with your own money. All of these things can be learned by playing a year in college.

      • LordBanana

        The college life of a top prospect is completely different than yours or mine or any typical student. They pretty much just play basketball, everything is taken care of for them.

        Ben Simmons: “I think I would have learned a lot more being around professional athletes. Looking at it now, I don’t really know what I learned, financially, or just being a person at LSU. I think I’ve learned a lot more this whole year in Philly, just being a pro, than I did at LSU. “

        • hiflew

          And you don’t see a problem with that? Carving a niche for yourself in life is good, but devoting your entire life exclusively to that niche is just insane and the people in charge should stop this stuff. What happens when this kid blows out a knee and he has no other skills whatsoever? Just because Ben Simmons did not choose to take advantage of his situation doesn’t mean other shouldn’t. LeBron James would have still become LeBron James with 4 years of Ohio State. But what could have happened with Korleone Young with 4 years of college? Or Ndudi Ebi? Or Martell Webster? Or Andray Blatche? Or any of the other dozens that did not become LeBron James or Kobe Bryant?

          • LordBanana

            I do see a problem with it, I don’t think any prospect of their caliber should feel like they have to go to college for a year. If you have no intention of graduating then become a professional right away. You can learn in lower leagues and you can always go to college when you’re physically unable to compete anymore.

            • x%sure

              Nobody winds up doing that, and if it does happen, it happens too late for society at large to benefit from at least semi-educated role models.

              And Simmons not getting anything out of his year of college underlines how he should not be counted on. The Sixers rely on Embiid for success.

            • hiflew

              But should society be okay with professionals in any capacity just learning on the job when there is opportunity to be educated for the task? Are you going to take your taxes to an accountant that was really good at high school math or one that got a degree in accounting? Are you going to the surgeon that graduated medical school or the one that was the best at the game of Operation as a kid? Are you paying to see a movie with real actors or one starring a really good high school drama club?

  2. D$!LLKU$H-og

    He’ll be drafted in the lottery regardless. He has the skills to be a solid prospect but what really helps him is the weak draft class in 19.

    • bravesfan88

      I don’t think it’ll be as strong as this year’s class…BUT, I don’t think it’ll be lacking in quality talent either…Just not as many big impact players like this year..

      I actually think this past draft has the potential to be one of the best since the early 2000’s…

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