NBA agent and Klutch Sports co-founder Rich Paul called the choice of top prospect Darius Bazley to forgo college and opt for a $1 million shoe-company internship the product of a broken system, saying Wednesday the on-court component of the next seven months was "the one thing that we were missing."
Bazley, ranked the No. 13 prospect in 2018 by ESPN, decommitted from Syracuse in March and said he planned to play in the NBA's G League. This week, he again changed course, landing a first-of-its-kind, three-month job with New Balance, a deal Paul brokered.
Paul, speaking in an appearance on ESPN's The Jump, said he wasn't sure the move would start a trend but did think it was a pioneering leap out of a institutionalized process that needed to change.
"And until that happens, they need options," Paul said.
Paul said Bazley was part of a system people in authority have "been able to control for a long time."
"And when you're a threat to that system, they don't like that," Paul said.
Bazley, a 6-foot-8 forward from Ohio, will enter the 2019 NBA draft, Paul said. Bazley had been poised to be the first five-star prospect to skip college for the G League, after several players have gone the overseas route. Like most high school players, Bazley was ineligible for the 2018 NBA draft because he's not one year removed from his graduating class. In the past, if a player was ruled ineligible for college or wanted to skip college, he generally went overseas -- like Brandon Jennings, Emmanuel Mudiay and Terrance Ferguson.
In May, Bazley signed with Paul, who also has LeBron James, John Wall and Ben Simmons among his NBA clients.