(High School Basketball) R.J. Hampton of Little Elm (Texas) announced on ESPN his intentions skip college and play in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL).
“My dream has never been to play college basketball,” Hampton said Tuesday morning on ESPN’s Get Up. “My dream has always been to get to the next level and play in the NBA, so I mean I think this was the best route for me to live like a pro and play with grown men every day and not have to juggle books and basketball and just focus on my main goal.”
The 6-foot-5 combo-guard, who recently reclassified to the Class of 2019 from the Class of 2020, ends his high school career as the No. 5 overall ranked player in the senior class. How the decision impacts the stock of the projected No. 6 pick in ESPN’s latest 2020 Mock Draft remains to be seen.
Recent history isn’t on his Hampton’s side, however, as notable prospects to go overseas include Brandon Jennings, ranked No. 1 in the Class of 2008 before dropping to the 10th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft after playing a year in Italy.
Emmanuel Mudiay, the No. 2-ranked player in the class of 2014, opted to play in China before dropping to the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Terrance Ferguson left high school ranked No. 16 and dropped to the 21st overall pick in 2017.
In 2018-19, Hampton earned second team MaxPreps All-American honors, averaging 32.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists and three steals per game to end his three-year high school career with 2,854 points.