The R.J. Hampton Blog: Loving New Zealand, life as a pro, Popeye's chicken sandwich and more

The R.J. Hampton Blog: Loving New Zealand, life as a pro, Popeye's chicken sandwich and more

Boys Basketball

The R.J. Hampton Blog: Loving New Zealand, life as a pro, Popeye's chicken sandwich and more


R.J. Hampton shocked everyone when he opted to go overseas and play professionally rather than to suit up in college. Hampton was one of the top high school basketball players in the country, regardless of class, and checked in at No. 2 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25. He’s also projected to be a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft next June. He’s agreed to give USA TODAY exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from his experience as a first-year pro to his everyday life in New Zealand in a blog.

What’s up guys, it’s R.J. Hampton blogging live from New Zealand!

I told you guys I would keep my blog going to keep you posted on what life is like for me over here so let’s get in to it!

RELATED: R.J. Hampton named first team ALL-USA

I got here on August 17 and I’m really liking it!

If I had to compare it to a city over in the states I would compare it to San Diego. I’m about two minutes from the beach. It’s their winter right now, but it’s not as cold as our winter, it’s about 60 degrees.

Everyone is really nice and chill and I’m learning my teammates and coaches and having fun in the process.

It’s surpassing my expectations being over here.

People always want to know if I regret my decision and I can say that I 100 percent don’t regret it at all. Being here just reinforces to me that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. It feels good to be able to say that.

I have so much time just to work on being a pro basketball player. My biggest thing was that I wanted to put everything I had in to working on my game and getting better and that’s exactly the situation I have over here.

RELATED: R.J. Hampton’s stock rose after the NCAA’s first live period

The biggest adjustment has been getting used to riding on the left side of the road. I haven’t driven yet; my dad has handled that.

It really helps to have my family over here with me. I don’t know what I would do without them. We have a house here and it’s really been normal. My little brother is home schooled, and everyone is adjusting really well.

The reception I’ve got from the fans over here has been crazy!

I was pretty surprised that all of the people here know who I am. We were at a burger place the other day and I was waiting in the car while my dad went in to get the food and, out of nowhere, about 10 girls just started banging on the window for me.

It’s pretty wild!

R.J. Hampton (right) shares a laugh with LaMelo Ball (left) during press tour. (Photo: Hampton family)

I’ve done a lot of media since being over here and that’s been fun. I had press rounds with Melo (Ball) and it was good to just hang with him for the day.

RELATED: Chosen 25 Basketball Rankings

My team is looking good.

Right now, we’ve got about six guys on the roster because five of our players were playing on the New Zealand National team.

We have a scrimmage tournament called The Blitz in a few weeks and then we play against Oklahoma City in Memphis in October. I’m really looking forward to that!

Life is good over here, but food-wise I do wish I could get that Popeye’s chicken sandwich to see what all the hype is about! Haha!

But there’s a place called Burger Fuel over here that is amazing! It’s all grass-fed beef and MAN, it’s good!

R.J. Hampton Blog: I’ve officially decided to reclassify to 2019…

I’m excited to tell you guys that my Li-Ning shoes should be out soon! I’m giving my input on the colors and what I want to do with it, but I’ve actually been wearing them and they’re amazing! I feel like people will really like them.

OK, everyone, as always, I appreciate you reading my blog and keeping up with my journey over here in New Zealand.

Like I said before, I’m gonna keep my blog going so check back soon and I’ll have another update for you guys.

Don’t forget to follow R.J. Hampton:

Twitter: @RjHampton14

Instagram: rjhampton14


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