With the G-League giving players an alternative to college basketball, some speculate that this could be the nail in the coffin for the NCAA. 4 high level prospects have already chosen the G-League over the traditional college route, fueling the G-League vs NCAA debate.
Isaiah Todd, Jalen Green, Daishen Nix, and Kai Sotto will be the faces of the new NBA/G-League pathway, with all four players opting to bypass college. All four of these players are ranked in the top 100, with Jalen Green being ranked #2, Daishen Nix being ranked #15, Isaiah Todd being ranked #18, and Kai Soto being ranked #60.
With 4 of the top 100 high school players choosing the G-League should the NCAA should that be a concern for them?
Players like Zion Williamson, Trae Young, and Lonzo Ball were all superstars in college, but for every Zion Williamson and Trae Young, there’s a Markus Howard or Obi Toppin. The G-League will not ruin college basketball. Players like Carsen Edwards, Cassius Winston, and Myles Powell did more for their respective schools than Zion or Trae could’ve ever done for theirs.
Carsen Edwards was the heart and soul of Purdue basketball for his four year tenure, and while he didn’t bring in the same attention to Purdue that Zion did to Duke, he was able to bring them just as much success.
Superstars bring casual fans, and media attention, but that’s not what makes college basketball great. The passion and pride that players, fans, and teams hold is what separates college basketball from the NBA.
The top college basketball programs won’t be hurt by the G-League due to the number of high level recruits willing to play for their program, and the smaller college basketball programs won’t be hurt because they never had to rely on high level recruits in the first place.
College basketball fans hate when a player comes to their school, just to leave one season later, so now that a more direct route is available to players, college basketball will now be more about college basketball, and less about the journey to the NBA.
The people who say that the G-League is going to kill college basketball, are the same people who don’t watch college basketball. Anybody who’s ever been to a college basketball game knows how special it is, and how the atmosphere is unlike anything else you can experience.
People view college basketball as the path to the NBA, and don’t give it the respect it deserves. For most recruits, the NBA is a goal, but it’s not the reason they go to college. They go to college to experience next level competition, improve their game, and potentially continute their basketball careers. There are thousands of college basketball players, and not even 1% of them make it to the NBA.
College basketball is about loyalty and tradition. Missing out on a few select top recruits every year will only make that loyalty stronger. Players who play in college will be more focused on college basketball itself, rather than the NBA.
People love to debate the G-League vs the NCAA, but in all honesty, it’s mutually beneficial. Certain routes are better for certain players, so giving these players more options will benefit not only the players, but both the NBA, and NCAA.