Duke basketball signees likely getting calls from G League

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

News of one high school senior’s noteworthy contract for next season adds to the notion that the same gig could lure one or more Duke basketball recruits.

Some would view the NBA G League deal that five-star 2020 combo guard Jalen Green announced on Thursday as a more enticing opportunity than essentially volunteering one’s services as a college freshman, even of the Duke basketball variety.

A half-million dollars as a base one-year salary. Significant endorsements right away. Extra dough for speaking engagements. No effect on one’s right to enter the 2021 NBA Draft. And as Stadium’s Shams Charania reported via a tweet, the creation of a new pro squad in Southern California just to welcome select prospects:

Only naive fans would think the G League higher-ups are too ethical to pitch similar offers to some of the six incoming Blue Devils. According to a growing number of reports, they have contacted several of the nation’s 2020 prospects.

One can assume that small forward Jalen Johnson, a five-star who ranks No. 11 overall on the 247Sports 2020 Composite and trumpeted his Duke basketball commitment nine months ago, is somewhere on their radar. In fact, considering he once ranked where Green sits at No. 3, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the 18-year-old has already fielded such calls.

One might also suspect the G League folks at least know the phone numbers of a few other highly anticipated five-star Blue Devils for next season: point guard Jeremy Roach, who ranks No. 21 in the class, and combo guard D.J. Steward, who ranks No. 24. As for the three 2020 four-stars who pledged allegiance to #TheBrotherhood — center Mark Williams plus power forwards Jaemyn Brakefield and Henry Coleman — they’re probably safe from this type of tampering, but who knows?

Either way, by paving this route, Green may have changed the game for blueblood programs. Prior to his deal, the G League had offered, starting last year, only $125K to elite graduating preps. Seeing that no one has taken that so-called chump change, this sweetened pot makes sense.

Understandably, by agreeing to this package, Green roused justified panic among worrywarts in the Duke basketball fanbase. Besides, former Michigan commit Isaiah Todd, a five-star big man who ranks No. 13, now looks as if he will follow Green’s exact path; furthermore, rumors abound that other schools could lose their signature signees, many of whom undoubtedly value a lot of cash over a little bit of college.

Meanwhile, the NCAA has two choices. It can ditch the hope for a future Zion Williamson type to enrich March Madness. Or it can speed up the process of pushing through the proposed measure to allow athletes to profit from their names, images, and likenesses (in the fall, the assumption was this long-overdue decision could be a reality by January 2021, but there hasn’t been much followup to that speculation).

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Finally, here’s the take from Rivals recruiting insider Corey Evans that followed Green’s pro-green choice:

“This is a new day in recruiting. How Green and Todd excel and develop next year will be reflected by their standing in the 2021 NBA Draft. Either way, it doesn’t appear as if this new G League path will be going away. Just as Duke and Kentucky have dominated the world of one-and-dones, the G League now will start getting some, too.”

As for whether this new-and-improved option snags a few who would otherwise be at Duke or Kentucky next season, well, we’ll find out in the coming months.

Trending. The projected Duke basketball starting five for next season. light

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