In one of the most shocking high school basketball decisions, Darius Bazley recently announced he will forgo college and focus on the NBA Draft. His original plan was to play in the G-League, the NBA’s farm system for young players. But, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Bazley will just train himself and focus on the draft rather than play in the G-League.
Before Bazley’s move, he was a five star high school player committed to Syracuse. Along with the basketball world, the move caught Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim by surprise as well. According to a report from flohoops.com’s Adam Zagoria, Boeheim believes this move will cost Darius Bazley in the long run.
“That always helps,” Boeheim said Monday by phone. “You see any freshman that comes in, like we had Malachi [Richardson] and Tyler Ennis. When they have a good freshman year and their college team wins; that’s a big advantage when you get an opportunity to move into the NBA.
“Now they’ll have nothing to look at except the McDonald’s Game and the limited games he played. I think he’s got tremendous upside, but I think it will cost him. I think he could’ve moved into the first round with a good college year. I don’t know if he can be a first-round pick now. They’ve got nothing to go by.”
“I was very disappointed he didn’t go to Syracuse,” one NBA scout said.
Of course, a major college coach will be disappointed about losing their top recruit before the season begins. Although, Boeheim has legitimate criticism of this move, considering the implications. It looks like Bazley will not play an organized game this year before the draft, which will regress his instincts in the eyes of scouts.
Last year, Mitchell Robinson had a similar path but not by choice. During the draft, Robinson ended up being the 37th overall pick. That is a result of having a good combine like Robinson, but he still went in the second round. Playing at a major Division 1 school provides stability to further a players skill set and get them in front of scouts. Bazley will not have the opportunity now.