The G League has signed yet another high-profile prospect.
This afternoon, news broke that UCLA signee and top-ranked point guard Daishen Nix will bypass the college ranks and will sign a deal with the NBA G League.
Nix – the No. 11 prospect in the 247Sports Top 247 – joins top-three prospect Jalen Green and five-star forward Isaiah Todd to make the jump from high school to the G League over the last two weeks.
The five-star point guard announced his commitment to UCLA back in August and signed during the early signing period.
Bobby Reagan of Barstool Sports was the first to publicly hint at the news yesterday before confirming Nix’s decision this afternoon. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Evan Daniels of 247Sports were among the other individuals to confirm the news, as well.
According to Charania, Nix’s deal with the G League is expected to be in the $300,000 range.
During his “Coffee with Cal” conversation with Charles Barkley on Monday morning, John Calipari said while he supports players going directly from high school to the NBA if they are talented enough, his biggest issue with the G League is that it sets a difficult academic precedent with younger athletes assuming this route is the best fit for them.
With how selective the G League will be in signing players, many players are going to be caught assuming they are good enough to sign lucrative deals, only to find out they won’t be academically eligible for college because they haven’t been preparing themselves in the classroom.
“My issue with the G League trying to entice players by giving them more money is not the kids that you’re getting, it’s the thousands of ninth and tenth graders that think that’s how they’re going to make it when you and I know it’s going to be two percent,” Calipari said. “We’re not talking 50 [percent]. It’s going to be thousands and thousands and thousands. I think kids should go directly from high school to the NBA if they can. If not, go to college if you have a lifetime scholarship. And I don’t want to hear, ‘Well, we’ll give lifetime scholarships.’ If a kid as a ninth or tenth grader wasn’t preparing himself for college, he can only go to a trade school. So, if he doesn’t make the G League, he’s in a trade school.”
Barkley added that players assuming they’ll be the next LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, or Kevin Garnett – three players who made the jump from high school to the NBA and developed into superstars – are mistaken.
“What are the chances that you’re going to be LeBron, Kobe, or Kevin Garnett?” Barkley continued. “Let’s be realistic: Kobe Bryant struggled and he’s one of the greatest ever. Kevin Garnett struggled. LeBron is the only player in my 30, almost 40 years in the NBA who was ready to come out of high school and go directly to the NBA. And you’re talking about the top guys. The rest of these guys, they are not ready.”
And players fascinated with the $500,000 deal Jalen Green took? Barkley wants them to know that’s closer to $200,000 in real money after taxes and fees.
“They were making a big deal that he made half a million dollars,” Barkley said. “First of all, Cal, you and me both know that ain’t half a million dollars. By the time he pays taxes, pays his agent, he’s gonna have $200,000.”
Despite the increase in salaries – players can now earn anywhere from $300,000-$500,000, plus sponsorships and endorsements – Calipari argued that a year at a school like Kentucky will still result in more money for prospects down the line.
“I want to see in the next four to five years, the kids that chose to go college, how they did because the money you’re going to get is negligible compared to what you will get if you really are good and get to your second contract. You have to get to your second contract. If you want to have that money that you have Charles, you have to get to that second deal. And if you’re young enough, you want to get to that third deal but that’s where it all is.”
Nix was once seen as a potential point guard option for Kentucky in the 2020 recruiting class, with the UK coaching staff pushing for a guard trio of Nix, Green, and BJ Boston, with Josh Christopher looming as a potential fourth option.
Instead, Calipari pushed for commitments from five-star guards Terrence Clarke and Devin Askew to play alongside Boston in the 2020-21 backcourt.
This news is also significant for scheduling purposes, as UCLA is expected to play Kentucky this season in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 19. When the Wildcats take on Mick Cronin’s UCLA squad, the Bruins will now be without their star point guard.