One of LaVar Ball’s many business ventures, the Junior Basketball Association, is already recruiting top high school talents.
In December, LaVar Ball announced the creation of a new league. He intends to launch the Junior Basketball Association as an alternative for college ball.
On paper, you can see why it would be an attractive option. Ball says that he plans to pay players between $3,000 and $10,000 per month to play, based on talent.
The lack of pay for players is one of the major criticism of the NCAA, and specifically college basketball. Players were previously allowed to enter the NBA Draft right out of high school.
There are alternate options for players. Some have gone overseas for a year before entering the NBA Draft.
That appears to be the path that Ball’s two younger sons are on. They currently star for a Lithuanian team, with Ball serving as a coach.
However, it doesn’t seem like the best idea for many high school-age players to go overseas. Not everyone has the resources of the Balls, or someone like LaVar who is willing to drop everything to move with them across the world.
So there is definitely a place for a U.S.-based league that will pay more competitively than the G-League does. And Big Baller Brand is already making its pitch to top players. Syracuse signee Jalen Carey received a direct message yesterday, which was posted to Twitter by Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician‘s Ben Sigel.
Here’s the picture from Jalen’s Snapchat: pic.twitter.com/FvvROFxc77
— Syracuse Basketball (@cusesigel) February 1, 2018
Carey was just the first to become public. However, a number of other players have now leaked out.
ESPN’s Jeff Borzello confirmed that Kentucky’s Tyler Herro, a four-star shooting guard from Milwaukee, was also messaged. Carey and Herro have both turned down the offer.
Big Baller Brand has now reached out to at least two high school prospects — Syracuse signee Jalen Carey and Kentucky commit Tyler Herro — about playing in LaVar Ball's Junior Basketball Association.
Both players confirmed to ESPN that they declined.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) February 2, 2018
Twitter account TiptonEdits, which makes custom graphics for recruits, has been in contact with a number of top recruits. Based on the tweets, at least 21 players, including Carey and Herro, have been contacted.
The count has been growing by the minute. Here are the players that @TiptonEdits has revealed thus far, sorted by school that they are committed to.
Arizona: Brandon Williams (4-Star PG, Encino, CA) – “I will be considering it“
Boston College: Jairus Hamilton (4-Star SF, Concord, NC) – Declined offer
Creighton: Marcus Zegarowski (4-Star PG, Hamilton, MA) – Declined offer
Iowa: Joe Wieskamp (4-Star SG, Muscatine, IA) – Declined offer
Kansas: Devon Dotson (5-Star PG, Charlotte, NC) – Declined offer
Kansas: Quentin Grimes (5-Star G, The Woodlands, TX) – Declined offer
Kentucky: Tyler Herro (4-Star SG, Milwaukee, WI) – Declined offer
Michigan: Brandon Johns (4-Star PF, East Lansing, MI) – Declined offer
Michigan State: Gabe Brown (4-Star SF, Belleville, MI) – Decline offer
Minnesota: Daniel Oturu (4-Star C, Saint Paul, MN) – Declined offer
Mississippi State: Reggie Perry (5-Star PF, Thomasville, GA) – “Mind set on playing for Mississippi State”
Northern Iowa: AJ Green (4-Star PG, Cedar Falls, IA) – “Will most likely decline offer”
Oregon: Miles Norris (4-Star PF, Wolfeboro, NH) – Declined offer
Providence: David Duke (4-Star G, Providence, RI) – Declined offer
Stanford: Cormac Ryan (4-Star SG, New York, NY) – Declined offer
Syracuse: Jalen Carey (4-Star PG, New York, NY) – Declined offer
UCLA: David Singleton (4-Star SG, Torrance, CA) – Declined offer
USC: Elijah Weaver (4-Star PG, Southwest Brevard County, FL) – “Does not know” if he will consider
Vanderbilt: Simi Shittu (5-Star PF, Saxtons River, VT) – Declined offer
Wake Forest: Isaiah Mucius (4-Star SF, Far Rockaway, NY) – Declined offer
Uncommitted: Bryan Penn-Johnson (4-Star C, Heber City, UT) – Declined offer
Tipton says that it appears that around 80 players total have been contacted. We’ll update the list as big names come out.
Looks to be around 80 players that have been contacted. https://t.co/VImqJE05Lc
— TIPTON EDITS (@TiptonEdits) February 2, 2018
So far, it looks like LaVar and Big Baller Brand is largely striking out, with a few potential exceptions. While many of his pursuits are admirable, it would be a huge risk to be among the first players to join this league, considering Ball couldn’t reliably get an order of sneakers delivered.