Cassius Winston was a senior at Michigan State. Udoka Azubuike was a senior at Kansas. Payton Pritchard was a senior at Kansas.
LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton – as old-enough American-born players who completed professional contracts outside the NBA – were automatically eligible.
Otherwise, practically every first-round prospect had to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft.
The NBA allows players to withdraw until 10 days before the draft (whenever that will be). The NCAA typically has an earlier withdrawal deadline for maintaining eligibility, though everything is in flux amid the coronavirus pandemic.
For now, here are all 205 early entrants (163 players from the American system and 42 international players):
Tulane guard Teshaun Hightower, who announced he was declaring for the draft and was since charged with murder, was not included.
The NBA still bans players jumping from straight from high school to the NBA.
The NBA’s minor league does not. In fact, the minor league is offering a $125,000 salary specifically to entice top high school recruits.
Nobody took the deal last season, the first year it was offered. Kevin Durant and Emmanuel Mudiay said they wouldn’t have gone that route if it were available. Top American players who wanted to turn pro – LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton – instead went to Australia’s National Basketball League, which also has a special program to lure graduating high schoolers.
So, Jalen Green will be a trendsetter.
Jonathan Givony of ESPN:
This is risky.
Green will get more money than he would playing college basketball. Probably. At minimum, this is over the table.
He’ll also get professional experience. College basketball grooms players for the NBA. This program is designed to groom players for the NBA.
But that cuts both ways. Green will face far better competition against older and better minor-league players.
He’ll also get far less exposure in a little-watched league. College basketball draws major viewers and would’ve given Green more ability to build his brand. On the other hand, he can cash in sooner, signing endorsement deals now.
Will this be good for Green overall? Tough to say. There’s no precedent. Presumably, he weighed all the pros and cons and made the best decision for him. Hopefully, he made the right call.