RJ Hampton, the No. 5 prospect in the ESPN 100 class of 2019, has signed a contract with the New Zealand Breakers of the Australian National Basketball League, he announced on ESPN’s Get Up on Tuesday.
“My No. 1 goal is to play in the NBA,” Hampton told ESPN. “I wanted to be an NBA player before I ever wanted to be a college player. This is about getting ready for the next level faster and more efficiently.
“Both of my parents went to college. My mom got her master’s degree. Education is a big thing in our family, but this is about focusing 100 percent on basketball. You can always go back to college, but there’s only a short window as an athlete where you can play professional basketball, and I want to take advantage of that. I think that challenging yourself on a daily basis is the best way to improve.”
RJ Hampton (ranked No. 5 recruit in ESPN Top 100) will forgo college to play professionally in Australia’s NBL. pic.twitter.com/xWmh7V5RaF
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 28, 2019
The CEO of the NBL, Jeremy Loeliger, told ESPN that he is hopeful that Hampton’s signing will attract other elite prospects to consider spending a year or more in Australia or New Zealand before taking the next step to the NBA.
Hampton becomes the first American player to willingly forgo college for playing international basketball.
Take that NCAA.
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