Alternate paths out of high school for elite, young basketball players sure are enticing.
Not long after it was announced that a pair of five-star twins, Matt and Ryan Bewley, were signing two-year deals as the inaugural players for the new Overtime Elite league, another top prospect has elected to take a similar professional route. Sterling “Scoot” Henderson, a five-star point guard from the class of 2022, has elected to join the NBA’s G League Ignite team where he could spend the next two seasons before making the leap to the NBA.
According to 247 Sports, Henderson is considered a top 10 player in his class and the No. 2 point guard in the country. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony believes that Henderson will ultimately wind up as a top-three player in his class, matching up alongside established stars from the class of 2022 such as Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren. Henderson, who actually reclassified to the class of 2021 with this decision, will join fellow class of 2021ers Michael Foster, Jaden Hardy, and Fanbo Zeng on the G League Ignite squad for next season.
another one@stockx is excited to welcome @thereal013, ESPN's No. 7 prospect in the Class of 2022, as the second player to sign with NBA G League Ignite for its second season. #NextIsNow pic.twitter.com/oHkCGAuOTm
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) May 21, 2021
According to The Athletic, the deal in place for Henderson is worth $1 million. Since Henderson will not turn until 2023, he will not be eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft and would have to spend at least two full seasons with the G League Ignite before he can become eligible. He’s already completed all of his high school coursework and will graduate a year ahead of schedule. Henderson is the youngest ever player in the history of the United States to sign a professional basketball contract at just 17 years old.
Kentucky was once thought to be one of the schools recruiting Henderson, although no formal offer ever came through. Henderson elected to take the G League path over other college programs such as Texas Tech, Tennessee, Louisville, Auburn, and Alabama. Kansas also had expressed some interest and a deal from Overtime Elite was reportedly turned down, as well.