Oklahoma City Thunder player Darius Bazley took a much different turn at the beginning of his career after High School. Bazley decided to go with an internship with New Balance instead of pursuing college or G-league, but as it turns out, that internship was more than any college could give him. SI's Kaitlin O'Toole is joined by Thunder team reporter Eric Gee to break down Bazley's lucrative internship and why it was a great decision for the former Thunder forward.
Read the full transcript below:
Kaitlin O'Toole: Former Princeton High School star Darius Bazley had a lot of options when graduation rolled around. He was expected to be the first elite prospect to play for the G League. Instead of going through the normal college route, but he decided on something completely different. Joining me now is Oklahoma City Thunder team reporter Eric Gee. Eric, Bazley took a few people by surprise when he chose to do an internship with New Balance instead of playing basketball. What's your take on this?
Eric Gee: Well, at first I thought he was absolutely crazy and I thought Rich Paul didn't do him any favors by spending a year not playing competitive basketball. However, when you look a little deeper at it... One, he's guaranteed a million dollars right out of high school, which is more than what G Leaguers are getting now with the new setup. Also, he got the opportunity to see marketing, how shoes were made, learn a whole new business so if basketball didn't pan out, he was set to go into the professional world and be just fine. Also, who wanted to work on his Combine skills a little bit more and New Balance certainly gave him time for that. So, in the end, Rich Paul did him a huge favor by setting this up. Not only did he guarantee him a whole lot of money that could possibly go from a million to $14 million with incentives, but certainly has him probably with a better education than most guys are getting in college just sticking around for a couple of semesters.
Kaitlin O'Toole: Absolutely, It sounds like there were no coffee runs on that internship, which is another plus. Eric, thank you so much for your insight. Appreciate it.
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