R.J. Hampton made the surprise decision to forgo college basketball in favor of the NBL’s New Zealand Breakers. While calling him a ‘trendsetter’ is premature, it’s reasonable to expect more players taking a similar route moving forward.
He won’t be in the public eye much, but Hampton remains a strong contender for a top-five spot on draft night. He’s an electric lead guard, using dynamic handles, a great sense of pace and a stellar pull-up game to pick apart defenses. He could use a few extra pounds, but his ability to create in live-dribble situations is a valuable attribute.
There’s some risk in playing overseas — the NBL will throw grown men at the 18-year-old — but it also comes with a hint of upside. He won’t get the same media deep-dives as other prospects, which could hide some flaws. He will also have the chance to show out against grown men if all goes well.