Duke target Jonathan Kuminga says he’s 50/50 on reclassifying and is down to five final choices - Duke, Kentucky, Auburn, Texas Tech and...the G-League.
We’ll be seeing that more from now on obviously and for a guy like Kuminga, it may make more sense than a less-than-lottery pick.
There is good and bad though.
For one, the professional gap year, if you will, won't have as many games as you would in college. For another, you won't be around your peers, at least not in the same way. Some 18-year-olds are ready to be all business but not all.
And third, at least at Duke, assuming you can defer your gratification for a year, what you bank in a year of college ball is probably going to be worth more than you’d make in the G-League and endorsements. Zion Williamson is obviously an outlier but his year at Duke translated into about $92 million. Let’s call it 10 months and let’s call that 305 days.
For Williamson, that worked out to $301,639.34 per day.
Talk about deferred gratification.
RJ Barrett didn't get nearly as much as Williamson of course - hardly anyone is going to - but he signed with the Knicks and made about $8,000,000 this year from the team. He also has endorsement deals with Puma, Indochino, Royal Bank of Canada and of Panini America and probably a few others.
So let’s call it $10 million just to keep it even. That’s $32,786 a day for his time at Duke.
The other downside to the G-League deal is that your game is going to be picked apart for a year. By the time that’s over, scouts are going to know every weakness you have.
For some guys that’ll make sense. For some others, a year at Duke is going to be worth a lot more. It just comes down to personal choice really but our guess is that the always prepared Mike Krzyzewski will go into a meeting with a promising recruit able to show him and his family just how well Duke players do in the NBA Draft - and after.
As we always like to remind, there are no salary caps on endorsements.