RJ Hampton: A Different Path to the NBA

Coming out of high school, RJ Hampton from Little Elm, Texas, who chose to reclassify into the class of 2019 to reach his goal of playing in the NBA, is one of the most recruited players in the class of 2019, dominating for Team USA, in the AAU circuit, and even during his time at Little Elm high school.

With his dominate play through the years Hampton drew interest from the likes of the Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky’s. Hampton is ranked first in the state of Texas as well as in the south region, while coming in second in his position (point guard) to only Cole Anthony (son of NBA player Greg Anthony). Hence why so many prestigious schools were after him. While many of Hampton’s peers decided where they will be attending school for the fall like Cole Anthony deciding to go to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Cassius Stanley picking Duke, and James Wiseman (the number one player in the class of 2019) pick the Memphis Tigers, Hampton remained undecided.

As the days and weeks went by the world would only see the countless workouts by his trainer Tyler Relph from Hampton posted on his Instagram page. Then out of nowhere Hampton decided to tell the world where he will be attending in the fall, but with a twist that would shock the world. RJ Hampton had picked to go overseas playing for the New Zealand Breakers and forgo his collegiate career and instead choosing to go pro. This decision shook the collegiate world as Hampton chose not to become yet another money pig for the NCAA. The main problem that many NBA scouts and executives have pointed out with this plan is that the game overseas doesn’t translate to the NBA just yet. When looking back at others who have tried this same path like Brandon Jennings or Terrance Ferguson (both whom were highly recruited coming out of high school but chose to go overseas instead of going to college), it’s easy to understand why experts are skeptical. Neither really turned into the players that people thought they would or could be which is why Hampton got so much backlash on going overseas when it has shown not to work out so well for kids from the United States. But for as many people that say this move will blow up in Hamptons face, there are those who believe that he will be the one to change the way we look at top prospects.

But the news doesn’t stop at choosing overseas over NCAA for Hampton. Hampton also has inked a five year deal with the Chinese brand Li-Ning who also represents Dwayne Wade, CJ McCollum, and Evan Turner. Hopefully RJ can put the world on notice and force the NCAA to change the way that they handle their student athletes.

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