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Potential first-rounder skipping college to prepare for 2021 NBA draft

2019 NBA Draft

BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 20: A general view of the stage and draft board at the end of the first round during the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20, 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE/Getty Images

What do top basketball players do after high school?

Eventually, they’ll be able to jump straight to the NBA. But for now, the league’s age minimum bars it.

College basketball is the most popular choice. However, that traditional route doesn’t appeal to everyone.

So, unconventional paths are emerging.

The Australian National Basketball League offers “Next stars” contracts that guarantee about $78,000 U.S. gross. The NBA’s minor league affiliate offers Select Contracts with a $125,000 salary.

Darius Bazley sat out last season then became the No. 23 pick in this year’s draft, joining the Thunder.

Highly touted 2020 recruit MarJon Beauchamp of Seattle is taking a similar path.

Beauchamp :

It’s incorrect to say college basketball players don’t get paid. They receive scholarships, room and board and even lately spending money.

They don’t get paid market rate. That’s the problem.

So, Beauchamp is forgoing compensation to do this training program. He won’t be bound by amateurism rules and could get a shoe deal, other sponsorship money or loans. But many college players get those benefits under the table, anyway. There’s a risk here.

Chameleon BX calls itself a “personalized 12-month program to prepare elite athletes for the NBA draft.” It lists former NBA head coaches Dave Joerger (Kings and Grizzlies) and Bob Hill (Pacers, Spurs and SuperSonics) among its staff.

Beauchamp will be an interesting test case.