He is a 6-foot-9, 210-pound top basketball prospect who planned to spend this winter starring at the Carrier Dome as a prized freshman for Syracuse University. Then, in March, Bazley stunned many in the sport by announcing he was decommitting from Syracuse so he could play out his one-year wait for the 2019 N.B.A. draft in the N.B.A.’s developmental-tier G League.
Yet that plan has also been nixed. In May, Bazley signed with the prominent agent Rich Paul, who represents LeBron James, John Wall and Ben Simmons among Klutch Sports’ 18 N.B.A. clients. Last week, Paul revealed that he had arranged for Bazley to spend the heart of the college basketball season — January, February and March — as an intern at New Balance.
Sources: Top high school-to-pro prospect Darius Bazley has signed an endorsement deal with New Balance, worth $14M and a guaranteed $1M. Bazley will spend year training ahead of 2019 NBA draft.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 22, 2018
There is so much going on in amateur athletics right now and New Balance has jumped off the top rope to add another wrench in the process of high school basketball prospects earning a living in the NBA.
The one-and-done rule was installed by the NBA for every reason except the nonsense reason that they claim to want to protect high school kids from jumping straight from high school to the pros if they’re not ‘ready’. Any rule that stops kids from earning a learning is not meant to protect kids. That’s a fact.
Forcing kids to go to college is for the NBA player’s association to get more of their guys paid so that they’re not getting money taken out of their pocket by some 18-year old that no one is even sure can ball. For every Dwight Howard and LeBron James, there’s a Kwame Brown and Robert Swift instantly earning more than some proven veterans making the minimum.
The NBA recently announced that they will be offering $125,000 contracts as an alternative to college basketball for high school prospects which is great for low-level guys who are fringe draft picks but at the end of the day, $125,000 isn’t enough to go play for the Fort Wayne Fire Ants, especially considering that instead, you can go to Arizona University and not-so-secretly get that same bag and be the king of a college campus.
But at the end of the day, this New Balance internship given to Darius Bazley might be the best route to the NBA for these guys.
Forcing kids to go to college is dumb.
Being a college student was the worst thing I ever did. Why force these kids to pretend like their students even though they miss weeks upon weeks of classes to go play in tournaments across the country?
I don’t want to hear the argument about the ‘exposure’ that playing at a big-time university gives to these players. Sure, that’s true for guys like Donte DiVincenzo who balled out in the finals for Villanova.
But look at the last few No. 1 overall draft picks.
Markelle Fultz didn’t make the tournament at Washington. Ben Simmons didn’t make the tournament at LSU. Kyrie Irving only played 11 games at Duke. If you can ball, you can ball. You don’t need to have Rick Pitino sending escorts to your room on road trips.
Darius Bazley is betting on himself and shout out to New Balance for betting on Bazley.
He could’ve played a meaningless season at Syracuse and smacked the floor on defense before getting bounced in the first round of the NCAA tournament or he can take $1 million dollars from a shoe company and prepare for the NBA draft without having to play for the Iowa G-League team or take some wack freshman humanities course.
Darius Bazley is about to change the game forever. Salud.
Thanks for reading. Tweet to @TheLesterLee if you are rooting for Darius Bazley to have a great NBA career. Also, go ahead and throw Deadseriousness a Like on Facebook so that I can keep the lights on around here at HQ.