HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Last month when Holy Spirit Prep (Atlanta) shooting guard Anthony Edwards announced that he was reclassifying from 2020 to 2019, his recruitment quite naturally went from laid back to intense overnight.
“It’s definitely picked up,” Edwards said.
College coaches are applying pressure with just four months left before the commencement of the NCAA’s Late Signing Period.
Makes sense since Edwards, who is ranked No. 2 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019, is already projected to go No. 1 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.
With that kind of buzz the poplar question is whether Edwards will be one of the players who opts for the G League’s new six-figure salary option.
The NBA announced recently that, beginning next year, select players would be able to earn $125,000 to play in its G League for a year before entering the NBA Draft.
Last month, prior to his reclassification, Edwards told USA Today Sports that G League route was “not for me.”
But Rod Strickland’s presence at Edwards’ game Friday night at the ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoopfest begs a revisit of that question.
Last month the NBA announced the hiring of Strickland, a 17-year NBA veteran and former college assistant, as program manager for the G League’s professional path program, which identifies elite high school players who would be NBA Draft early entry candidates if the one-and-done rule was not in place.
As it stands high school players must be one year removed from high school or be 19 to be eligible for the draft.
More than the six-figure salary, the lure of the G League’s professional path program is that, as pros, the players would be free to earn endorsement money. For example, DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick last June to the Phoenix Suns, signed a four-year, multi-million dollar endorsement deal with Puma.
“I’m still only focused on going to college,” said Edwards who posted 41 points and 14 rebounds in Holy Spirit’s 85-73 win over Archbishop Carroll at the National Hoopfest. “That’s just not for me. I’m not worried about the money, that’ll be there. I want to experience college. I’m excited about that.”
Edwards said he’ll take official visits to Duke, Florida State, Michigan State and Kansas, while Georgia, UCLA and others remain in the mix as well.
“I’m going to get the dates for my visits soon,” Edwards said. “I’m just looking for the school where I’ll develop the most. I’m not looking at who’s there, who committed there or anything like that; I just want to go where I can develop and take my game to another level.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY