Skip to main content

Report: Amid NCAA scandals, NBA could develop elite high school players, possibly paying them

The NBA would groom the best of the best after graduation.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

The NCAA's role of preparing top basketball talent for the NBA could be changing, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. 

With the NCAA once again in the spotlight for reported widespread violations of amateurism rules, top officials from the NBA have been discussing ways to give elite high school players a different platform to get ready for the possibility of playing at the highest level. 

Windhorst writes: 

"A plan is expected to include the NBA starting relationships with elite teenagers while they are in high school, providing skills to help them develop both on and off the court. It would ultimately open an alternate path to the NBA besides playing in college and a way 18-year-olds could earn a meaningful salary either from NBA teams or as part of an enhanced option in the developmental G League, sources said."

Essentially, Windhorst is saying the NBA could be on the verge of implementing ways to help train and teach elite prep players after high school.


College basketball's biggest names implicated in bombshell report

For the best of the best, like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, there could be way to make money without getting under-the-table payments from NCAA programs. 

"A new plan could establish a way for the ultra-elite level of players such as Bryant or James to go to the NBA as 18-year-olds and also create a way for high school graduates who might not be ready to immediately go to the NBA to continue their development with NBA teams while enabling them to earn money that could help their families. This would be an alternative to college and perhaps the seedy and legally questionable world of looking for under-the-table payments."

ESPN's report comes on the heels of former President Barack Obama suggesting to an audience at MIT that the NCAA shouldn't serve "as a farm system for the NBA with a bunch of kids who are unpaid but are under enormous financial pressure," according to 

Obama added that an alternative to the NCAA won't solve all the problems, but it will "reduce the hypocrisy" of trying to convince the public that some student-athletes aren't treated with favor. 

Elite-level high school players haven't been allowed to enter the NBA Draft since 2005, when then-Commissioner David Stern invoked a rule that made players go to college for one year, or wait to enter the draft until they are 19 years old. 

As a workaround to the NCAA, some fresh-out-of-high school stars have played overseas for a year, making millions of dollars, and then entering the draft a year later.

Minnesota has been rising on the national basketball scene with a number of high profile prep players in recent years, like Tyus Jones and Rashad Vaughn, who were both one-and-done college stars now in the NBA. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 10.38.41 PM

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem dead at 68

His office announced he had passed away 'unexpectedly' Friday.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Chris Finch

Suns get hot, Timberwolves fall in Phoenix

A scorching performance in the fourth quarter sent the Wolves to a loss in the desert.

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello helps Wild spoil Lundqvist's retirement party

After Henrik Lundqvist's jersey was hung to the rafters, Zuccarello led a 3-2 win.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 5.04.00 PM

David Arquette gives shoutout to MN's F1rst Wrestling on James Corden show

The Hollywood actor wrestled at at a F1rst Wrestling show at First Avenue in early 2019.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

6 charged in Black Friday mass thefts at Twin Cities Best Buys

The group stole from three Best Buy stores that afternoon, the charges say.

Nicollet County Bell Jan 2022 4

Thieves steal large bell from rural MN church, don't get far with it

The bell was found in a ditch with tow ropes around it.


COVID: More help coming to Minnesota hospitals, Walz says

More than 200 medical professionals are coming to help at short-staffed hospitals.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 9.04.12 AM

Suspect arrested after falling asleep in vehicle at rest stop

The man was sleeping in a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of an I-94 rest area.

DOminos pizza flickr mr blue maumau

Charges: Edina man threatened to shoot up Domino's Pizza

He claimed a delivery driver had flipped him off, the charges say.

carvana vending machine

Carvana seeking to build vehicle vending machine in Twin Cities

The online car dealership submitted a letter of intent to buy land in the metro to build a fulfillment center.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Coller: New Vikings GM Adofo-Mensah needs to be ruthless

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah needs to make some big, difficult decisions, writes Matthew Coller.

Patrick Graham

Report: Vikings to interview Giants' Patrick Graham for head coach

Graham coached with the Patriots under Bill Belichick for six years.


David Stern is on board with NBA players smoking weed

The ex-NBA commissioner thinks it's time for the league to change its thinking.

What a scout says about players linked to Wolves in NBA Draft

The draft begins at 6 p.m. Thursday and the Wolves have the 11th overall pick.

Karl-Anthony Towns

NBA suspends the season, Utah star player gets coronavirus

The stunning decision was reported just after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Butler, KAT named All-NBA Third Team

It's KAT's first All-NBA nod and Butler's second.

Ryan Saunders

Wolves sprinting towards high pick in NBA Draft

Finishing with one of the three-worst records is best for NBA Draft Lottery chances.