Ex-Syracuse signee Darius Bazley, a top-20 high school prospect in the Class of 2018, spurned college for a professional pursuit with the NBA’s development league earlier this year.
Bazley’s decision was a bit of a stunner that led him down a unique path. It was met with a fair share of criticism, as some questioned whether or not he was ready for the pros – but he gained some vindication this week when the New York Times revealed he’d been guaranteed $1 million by New Balance to be an intern.
Had Bazley opted to stick with his Orange commitment, he’d be readying for the 2018-19 college hoops season. He’s now using the year to train and prepare for the 2019 NBA Draft. That Bazley would be a part of Syracuse’s loaded roster may anger some Orange fans, unsurprisingly, but Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim showing some pettiness towards his decision isn’t a new development.
He offered up his own analysis of the arrangement with New Balance announced this week and said, “LeBron did a nice job helping his client,” referencing the fact that Bazley signed with James’ agent, Rich Paul, who is part of Klutch Sports. James immediately got wind of the interaction and took to Twitter to throw a retort back Boeheim’s way.
To which Boeheim responded:
James this week tweeted his support of the G League and its movement towards a more professionalized path, which will begin in 2019. He also voiced his wish for more support and options for kids – presumably high school-aged athletes – who are faced with tough choices after graduation on whether to go pro or go to college, and has openly pined for more player-empowerment on the whole.
Boeheim has said that Bazley “made a mistake” by backing off his Syracuse commitment and has been dubious of a first-round grade some have placed on him as an athlete.
Bazley was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school. He decommitted from Syracuse in March to enter the G League draft after originally signing his national letter of intent in November 2017.
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