Top high school prospect Darius Bazley, who decided to skip college and forego his NCAA eligibility, has now signed a professional endorsement contract with New Balance, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.
Bazley, 18, was initially committed to Syracuse before decomitting in March to prepare for the 2019 NBA Draft with plans of playing in the NBA's G League. Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo assessed Bazley's decision to go to the G League and its possible implications.
In May, Bazley signed with agent Rich Paul and Klutch Sports and his playing plans changed. As part of Bazley's new multi-year contract with New Balance, he will now intern at company's marketing, digital, footwear and apparel departments from January to March. The deal will pay him at least $1 million and could reach $14 million if he hits performance incentives, according to Stein.
“There will be some things he misses out on, but I’m not worried at all—not with the talent and skill set he has,” Paul told The Times. “No matter what we do this year, he still has to be developed in the NBA. You see it even with the highest draft picks—it’s not like you come into the league as a rookie and set the league on fire.”
Last week, the NBA announced that the G League will pay players $125,000 per season before becoming eligible for the NBA draft.
Bazley has not played in a game since April's Nike Hoop Summit in Portland. The Times says he may not play in another competitve game until July 2019 with an NBA Summer League team.