The RJ Hampton Effect

PHOTO: FIBA.BASKETBALL
PHOTO: FIBA.BASKETBALL

On Tuesday morning, the unthought of happened. 5-star prospect from Little Elm, Texas, RJ Hampton, made his decision to play overseas this next year for a team in New Zealand. The significance? This is the first time a player of this stature that had proper academics opted out of playing college basketball.

RJ Hampton is the 5th overall prospect in ESPN's Top 100 recruits for the 2019 class. Before making his decision on ESPN's Get Up! Hampton's list was down to Memphis, Kentucky, Kansas, and Duke. A dream scenario for any high school senior, having your pick of the litter and deciding your own fate in Division-1 Basketball. Instead of taking the traditional one-and-done route that most top players take, RJ Hampton decided to start a new trend.

Hampton's decision to forego college and focus strictly on basketball emphasizes the brokenness of the college basketball system. From his point of view, it makes sense. When announcing his decision, Hampton said this was strictly a basketball decision. Going to a school to play basketball is awesome, the atmosphere, the college experience, especially for a D1 athlete. That was not the issue. It's the off the court distractions that made his decision.

Hampton said his desire was to play in the NBA and would take the smartest path to get there. College is cool, but why not be around pros now? Instead of going to classes and doing homework, now he can be in the gym expanding his game in different ways. Playing under someone like Coach K or Coach Cal is an amazing opportunity, but being around immediate pros and focusing solely on his own game is what will make Hampton a better pro.

PHOTO: FIBA.BASKETBALL
PHOTO: FIBA.BASKETBALL

This is where things start to get interesting. Now that the next wave of recruits see what Hampton is doing and why he is making this decision, will more recruits start to follow? This is the ending of college basketball as we know it. 

More and more recruits will start exploring different options, whether it is playing overseas or playing in the NBA G-League. These kids are talented and want to get paid now. The NCAA is not letting these players receive any sort of money for a game which they bring in a ton of revenue. In 2019, the NCAA Tournament brought in $900 Million dollars in revenue. But someone gives a player $100k and it's the end of the world? Broken system.

So here it starts. The RJ Hampton effect is going to start being a thing. We will not see the way it affects college basketball until more recruits start making their decisions next year. The college system rakes in millions in revenue and still will not pay the players. The best part about this is now players have options now and are not forced to be in the college system any longer. It is only a matter of time until players can go to the NBA from high school again, too. RJ Hampton - trendsetter.