Top NBA Prospect Forgoes NCAA for International Play

DALLAS, TEXAS - MAY 03: R.J. Hampton poses for a portrait during JMBLYA at Fair Park on May 03, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

RJ Hampton, a five-star recruit and top NBA prospect, has decided not to go to college. He had previously been scouted by high-level programs like Duke, Kansas, and Texas Tech. Instead, he plans to join the National Basketball League of Australia and play for the New Zealand Breakers.

Top NBA Prospect Joins New Zealand Breakers Instead of Top College Programs


Top NBA Prospect Taking Notice of International Play

Hampton explained his reasoning in an interview he did on “Get Up!”. “My dream has never been to play college basketball. My dream has always been to get to the next level and play in the NBA.” Playing for an international team like the Breakers will allow him to solely focus on his professional development, free from the other trappings of college life. Fully understanding of why Hampton signed with them, Matt Walsh, a partial owner for the Breakers, had this to say. “We are going to do everything we can as an organization to ensure that he reaches his goal of being a high draft pick and prepare him as best as we can to come in ready to make an impact in the NBA”

Hampton also cited Luka Doncic, the presumptive NBA rookie of the year, as a big influence. While playing in the Euroleague, Doncic got experience playing against grown professional athletes before coming to the NBA. Doncic dominated in the NBA from his first game and opened the door to the merits of international play. He even went as far as to say it’s easier to score in the NBA than the Euroleague.

Hampton is a combo guard that’s been compared to Jamal Murray and John Wall. He’s got an excellent handle that he uses to probe the defense. His shooting mechanics are superb and fast, which should translate well to higher levels of professional basketball. This blend of ball handling and shooting makes him tough to guard one-on-one. While light in frame, he’ll have plenty of time to bulk up while playing overseas. He should come back next year ready to be a top draft pick.

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