Two top high school recruits mentioned they will consider skipping college to play professionally en route to the NBA. Could this become a growing trend in college basketball recruiting?
The Duke Men’s Basketball program has done a great job of recruiting the top players in the country to join the Blue Devils, but that could come to an end as more high school prospects may consider skipping college altogether to play professionally before joining the NBA.
At this year’s Peach Jam, an AAU basketball event featuring some of the top high school players with Coach K and the Duke staff in attendance last week, the topic was brought up by two top-ranked recruits. Talented prospects DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley, III are both currently ranked as the #1 players in the 2017 and 2018 classes respectively, and both players are also considering skipping college after high school.
DeAndre Ayton is a dominant 7-0 center originally from the Bahamas. He has been highly under-recruited due to questions on his academic record from online classes after moving to high school in Arizona and is not on Duke’s radar. Marvin Bagley, on the other hand, is a versatile 6-10 forward who as of now has no academic issues and has a Duke offer even though he was ineligible this past season after transferring high schools. Bagley has 2 years to decide, but plans to do “what’s best for [his] family”. Even though these two top-ranked recruits were the most vocal about it, Ayton says many more prospects are also considering it:
"“I think a lot of dudes are gonna go overseas…That’s the big talk right now. Yeah, they just looking at it, like man I want to go get this money, stuff like that.”"
More from Duke Basketball Recruiting
- Duke basketball prioritizing frontcourt prospects in 2025
- Duke basketball: Countdown to Craziness lands another huge visitor
- Duke basketball: Darren Harris, Isaiah Evans wear uniforms during visit
- Duke basketball: Another visit looming in recruitment of Dylan Harper
- Duke basketball must add VJ Edgecombe to recruiting class
Athletes only need to be one year removed from high school to join the NBA, which instituted the one-and-done rule in the NCAA. However, players also have the option to play professionally overseas or join the NBA D-League for a year before declaring for the NBA Draft. College basketball provides more exposure against tougher talent, but come with other problems of eligibility and amateurism.
Professional players such as Brandon Jennings and Emmanuel Mudiay played internationally after attending U.S. high schools before joining the NBA, and former Tar Heel P.J. Hairston joined the D-League after being suspended and leaving UNC before being drafted in 2014. Most recently, 5-star guard Terrance Ferguson backed out of his commitment to Arizona and will instead play overseas in Australia for the upcoming season.
Whatever these and future top recruits end up doing, I think Duke will still be fine with one of the top coaches ever.