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A Lesson Zion And RJ Taught Friday Night

Just because you don't get paid to play NCAA basketball doesn't mean it has no value

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NBL - Wellington Saints v Canterbury Rams
Will NBL basketball work out for US high schoolers? Only time will tell.
Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

On Twitter, Mike DeCourcy and several others noted the full crowd Friday night at Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas to see the NBA debut of Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett.

As DeCourcy noted, this would not have happened had they not built up their reputations in college.

So it was a bit ironic that on Friday Top 40 talent Terry Armstrong became the latest to announce his decision to play pro ball in Australia.

No disrespect to Aussie hoops, which is actually pretty good and about to get damned good, but as far as the US market is concerned, they’ve fallen off the face of the earth.

Those guys - Armstrong, RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball (there might be others but if so we can’t recall at the moment) - will make a modest income by basketball standards, play against older, less talented players, and return to the US as either unknowns or guys who have been nearly forgotten.

That’s not to say they can’t make their own choices or that anyone has to go to college - that’s up to them - but it’s a tradeoff and it may not work to their advantage when they come back.

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