Top recruit Jalen Green skips college, signs with G League

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Top recruit Jalen Green said Thursday that he is skipping college and has signed with the G League for next season, becoming the first player to take advantage of a new potential path to the NBA.

Green, a guard from Napa, California who was considered by some as the No. 1 overall recruit in this year’s high school class, will be eligible for the 2021 NBA draft and seems a strong candidate to be among the top picks.

“This is the best route to prepare myself,” Green said, making the announcement on Instagram.

Green’s signing is different from the program that was expected to allow top players the chance to use the G League as a bridge between high school and the NBA. No player ever signed under that 2018 initiative.

Green will play for a still-being-developed program, but not for any G League team or with affiliation with an NBA franchise. He, and any others who follow, will play under the G League umbrella, focusing on draft preparation, basketball readiness and life skills.

A person with knowledge of the situation said Green’s salary will “be significantly more” than the $125,000 contracts that the G League began offering as an option to select players in 2018. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the contract terms were not released publicly.

“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,” G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim said, adding that Green “will learn from an NBA-caliber coaching and player development staff.”

The program the G League announced in 2018 that offered what was then called “select contracts” to players who did not want to play college basketball but were not yet eligible for the draft.

But none of those deals were ever executed for a variety of reasons — feedback the G League got included that players thought the $125,000 salary was too low, did not like not knowing where they would play, and the uncertainty of how they would be allocated to teams.

The G League’s initial efforts about finding a bridge between high school and the NBA were developed following recommendations released in 2018 by the Commission on College Basketball, a group that was chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and was tasked with reforming the college game.

The commission report said “elite high school players with NBA prospects … should not be ‘forced’ to attend college.”

Memphis, Florida State and Auburn were among the schools courting Green.

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