Just when it was beginning to look like Penny Hardaway was going to knock off John Calipari as the best recruiter in college basketball, the unthinkable happened. RJ Hampton, the #5 overall recruit according to ESPN, decided that he would forgo a college experience and play a year in New Zealand. Watch his announcement on ESPN’s The Jump:
As part of the Australian NBL Next Stars Program, Hampton will play for the New Zealand Breakers next season. He is the highest rated recruit to skip college in order to play for another professional league before going to the NBA. In his interview, the quote “My dream has never been to play college basketball … so I think this was the best route for me” really sticks out.
The one and done’s of the world don’t want to go to college either. They want to start their professional career and start making the millions they have been dreaming about their entire life. Depending on how he does and if it affects his draft stock, this could attract more top rated recruits to follow in his footsteps. Playing oversees or going straight to the G-League instead of being bogged down by the strict rules of the NCAA. Hampton could be changing college basketball forever by simply not playing it.
If the name New Zealand Breakers sounds familiar to you, it is because it is partially owned by Barstool Sports employees Big Cat, PFT Commenter, and Hank who make up the Pardon My Take Podcast. That’s right, Bill Self and Penny Hardaway just lost a recruit to a sport humor podcast.
Before you get upset about that, know that I really don’t think that bloggers had an impact on a players career choice. Just a funny way of discrediting coaches.