Darius Bazley, a first-round prospect in the 2019 NBA draft class, decided Monday to forego the G-League and train on his own in advance of next June’s draft.
In March, Bazley decommitted from Syracuse and announced his eligibility for the NBA G League. Bazley told The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Monday that he has again changed his plans, deciding instead to train on his own.
“The G League is the only league where winning might not be everything. Development is the most important aspect, but guys are playing for the team and at the same time trying to play for themselves. That’s not the type of guy I am. For me in those settings to just get mine, I’ve never been brought up that way. I feel basketball is a team sport and everybody is supposed to eat. In the G League, that’s not the way it is. Everyone is trying to get an opportunity to go to the NBA,” Bazley told The Athletic.
Bazley follows in the recent footsteps of Knicks second-round pick of Mitchell Robinson and Rockets’ second-rounder DeAnthony Melton, two top prospects who slipped in the draft after leaving school to train privately.
He will not, however, blaze the trail of amateurs using the G-League as a development tool. That will have to wait — as Charania notes in his story, not all G-League franchises are created equally. While some, like the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, which is affiliated with the Rockets, are a petri dish of experimentation and innovation, others are ignored.
This is ultimately what turned Bazley away from the league as he prepares for the draft. And it’s what the G League will have to consider as others look at the league instead of playing in college or overseas.