Former State Sophomore of the Year and perhaps the nation’s No. 1 player for the Class of 2020 who played as a freshman, sophomore and junior at San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno said no to the NCAA on Thursday and yes to new NBA G-League developmental program.
(Breakdown by Cal-Hi Sports publisher Mark Tennis
& Managing Editor Ronnie Flores)
Don’t look for current Napa Prolific Prep player and former San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno superstar Jalen Green to be trekking around the country with an NBA G League team like the ones in Stockton, Santa Cruz, El Segundo and Ontario as a result of his decision to join the NBA’s G League development program in an announcement he made this week.
Green instead will be playing for a developmental team outside of the traditional G League contracts that will play exhibition games against some G League teams that will be supervised by some former NBA players. Others may join him, including 2020 McDonald’s All-American Isaiah Todd and former Orange Lutheran player Makur Maker.
Green, who became San Joaquin Memorial’s all-time leading scorer in only three seasons after spending his senior year at non-CIF program Prolific Prep, will be getting paid much more than the $125,000 the G-League announced it would offer elite high school prospects back in 2018. No figure was officially announced in Green’s deal, but it could be worth closer to $500,000 for the 2020-21 season before he joins the pool of the 2021 NBA Draft. With his charisma/looks and elite athleticism, Green is also a good candidate to land some endorsement deals.
The G-League developmental team concept is the brainchild of G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim (the former Cal Pac-12 Player of the Year) and Rod Strickland, the former NBA guard who is in charge of the NBA G League’s pro path for high school prospects, and it’s been in the works for over a year. Green is being represented by Aaron Goodwin, the Oakland-based agent who helped broker LeBron James’ initial deal with Nike out of high school in 2003 and other deals in the early stages of James’ NBA career. Green played his travel ball in the Nike-fronted EYBL for Team Why Not.
“We’re thrilled to welcome a player and a person of Jalen’s caliber to the NBA G League,” said Abdur-Rahim in the G-League’s official press release. “He represents the next generation of NBA players, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him develop his professional skills in our league. Jalen will learn from an NBA-caliber coaching and player development staff as he begins his professional basketball journey in the NBA G League.”
Green will actually be the first major player to participate in the NBA G League professional pathway program. The new format also calls for the incoming player to not be part of the regular G League. This was done to ease some fears by parents but the extra dollars were more to counter the desire for players to play their one season between high school and the NBA Draft in the National Basketball League of Australia (which is where former Chino Hills standout La’Melo Ball played this last season).
If and when the NBA and its players association reaches a new bargaining agreement that would allow elite high school players such as Green (and back to the years when a player like Kobe Bryant did that) to skip college and go directly to the NBA, deciding what to do for that one season in-between will remain a very fluid situation.
Green hasn’t actually always been the No. 1 player from California nationally in the Class of 2020. He has tended to alternate with 7-foot-1 center Evan Mobley from Rancho Christian of Temecula. Mobley was the State Junior of the Year last season as both he and Green were first team all-state. That choice went the other way around during the two players’ sophomore season. Green is ineligible for any high school all-state honors for this year since Prolific Prep is not a member of the California Interscholastic Association.
Social media chatter has been heavy about Green’s pro move and its impact on NCAA basketball, but this G League option will only be available to the top elite prospects that have legitimate credentials to be high NBA lottery picks. The college recruiting process and accepting a valuable college scholarship will still be the best option for a vast majority of players good enough to play after high school. What it could mean, however, for NCAA basketball going forward is it will need to include language in its scholarship agreements where student-athletes have much more control over their names, image and likeness in order for recruits of Green’s caliber to accept a college scholarship offer.
The G-League developmental team reportedly will operate out of Southern California, with the Mamba Facility in Thousand Oaks mentioned as one of the possible places were the team could train and practice.