Jonathan Kuminga And The G League Are A Threat To The NCAA

By: Zachary Diamond
Posted: July 16, 2020

Top-five prospect Jonathan Kuminga has signed with the G League for $500,000 instead of playing college basketball, according to The Athletic.

Kuminga was choosing between the G League or Duke, Texas Tech, Auburn, and Kentucky. Kuminga is the fifth player in ESPN’s 100 Prospects Class of 2020 to chose the G League over college basketball. Other prospects on ESPN’s list who have signed with the G League include Jalen Green (No. 1), Isaiah Todd (No. 15), Daishen Nix (No. 21) and Kai Sotto (No. 65).

The NCAA should be worried because just in 2019 alone they generated 867.53 million dollars in revenue and didn’t pay a dime of it to their players. If the G League is going to offer elite 17/18-year olds $500,000 to play in their league for a season and then enter the NBA Draft, they are going to sign that contract.

Kuminga is technically joining the G League’s pathway program which started in October 2018. The G League signs players to what they call “Select Contracts.”

In the press release, NBA G League President Malcolm Turner said, “Select Contracts are an answer to the basketball community’s call for additional development options for elite players before they are eligible for the NBA. The supporting infrastructure surrounding these newly-created Select Contracts is designed to provide a rich offering of basketball and life skills developmental tools for top young players to grow along their professional paths from high school to the pros.”

Kuminga will be able to use the G League’s professional facilities playing around fringe NBA quality players. His contract of $500,000 dollars to join the G League is a significantly handsome route for NBA prospects coming out of high school.

Kuminga, who is seen as the 1st overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, told NBA insider Shams Charania, “I know I am the No. 1 player and I’m going to keep working on being the man that I want to be.”

Instead of getting a pretend education to play for a school that gives players nothing but a scholarship to play for their basketball team, Kuminga’s labor will be compensated and be able to have endorsements in the G League.

What is the NCAA going to do if the G League starts taking all of the high-end talent? What if the G League kills NCAA college basketball????

The G League can never do away with college basketball entirely, but if the top prospects stop playing college basketball than the NCAA might start losing popularity and media coverage. NCAA basketball may become completely irrelevant to the professional basketball world if the NBA doesn’t need to have an interest in college talent anymore.

If the G League sign all of the elite 18-year old NBA prospects, coverage of the G League season may gain more popularity and media coverage. Adversely, not having the elite talent in college basketball will certainly decrease the popularity of NCAA basketball.

The G League route treats the prospect at a higher standard then they would be in the NCAA. Moving forward it will be interesting if more prospects sign with the G League.

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