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R.J. Hampton Announces He’ll Skip College, Will Play Pro In New Zealand For The Breakers

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David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief
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High school basketball phenom R.J. Hampton announced Tuesday that he won’t be playing college basketball.

Instead, Hampton announced his decision to sign with the New Zealand Breakers and begin his career as a pro in the NBL, which features teams from Australia and New Zealand. (RELATED: Toronto Raptors Will Play The Golden State Warriors In The NBA Finals)

This is a bold decision for a couple reasons. First, the NBL is an okay overseas pro-league, but it’s far from elite. It’s also not a league known for paying huge amounts of money.

Of course, Hampton is gunning for the NBA and can probably eat a single year of not making a ton of cash, which he wouldn’t have made in college anyways.

Secondly, I don’t think some people in America understand just how great basketball overseas can be. Brandon Jennings was a phenom coming out of high school, and he got thrown around like a rag doll when he went to Italy instead of playing in college.

Now, he had a successful NBA career, but Jennings had to learn the hard way that basketball overseas is far from the realities of a high school gym.

You’re talking about playing with grown men and some of the best players on the planet outside of the NBA.

Hampton will have to go through the same process as he learns the days of playing against teenagers are officially behind him.

 

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Will he cut it in the pros? Not a clue. There are tons of variables on the table, but I can promise you he’s going to grow up a hell of a lot quicker overseas than he would have in college.

He’s playing against full-grown men now, and he’ll wash out quickly if he doesn’t take things seriously.

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