Daishen Nix, one of the top high school point guard prospects in the class of 2020, de-committed from UCLA and opted to sign a contract with the G League, otherwise known as the NBA’s developmental league.

Daishen Nix UCLA NBA G League
Trinity International star Daishen Nix drives against a teammate during a practice last season in Las Vegas. (Image: Caroline Breham/LVRJ)

Nix, a 6-foot-5 point guard from Las Vegas, became the third highly-rated high school recruit to spurn the traditional college basketball route. Jalen Green, the #1 overall HS prospect, and fellow five-star recruit Isaiah Todd, also opted for the G League.

G League President and former NBA player Shareef Abdur-Rahim said the three new signings will play together on a newly-formed team in the NBA’s developmental league.

According to ESPN’s “100 for 2020” list, Nix finished his high school career as the #20 recruit in the country.

In a mock draft for the 2021 NBA Draft next season, ESPN predicted Nix as the #12 overall pick.

De-Committing Nix

Daishen Nix committed to UCLA last August as an early signing so he could focus on his final season at Trinity International in Vegas. UCLA’s head coach Mick Cronin landed one of the best point guards in the country to help re-establish the Bruins as the premier team on the West Coast.

Other top programs were interested in Nix, including Kentucky and Kansas, even with Nix projected as a one-and-done player.

While the coronavirus pandemic shut down the rest of the season for Nix at Trinity International, it gave him some time to reflect on his future. Instead of the traditional route, Daishen Nix decided the G League would better prepare him for the NBA.

“I think it was the right thing for me because it was a family thing and a myself thing,” Nix said in an interview with the LA Times. “Playing in G League is basically getting me ready for the NBA draft. It’s just one step below the NBA.”

In the last couple of seasons, an increasing number of top high school players with NBA-level talent decided to surpass the collegiate ranks in favor of playing overseas or in the G League. During the last bastion of the “one-and-done” era, to become eligible for the NBA Draft, a player must have played at least one season of basketball in the NCAA, overseas pro leagues, or the G League.

No Love for the NCAA

Even if you’ve never seen “Blue Chips,” everyone knows that the NCAA draws upon a free labor pool of collegiate talent to stock its athletic programs. Now that international professional leagues have stepped up their level of professionalism and pedigrees, the NCAA no longer has a monopoly on high school talent.

Heading into the 2019-20 season, RJ Hampton snubbed the NCAA. Hampton, a five-star recruit from Dallas, Texas, headed to Australia for his gap year. Hampton signed a deal with the New Zealand Breakers in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL).

Killian Hayes, one of the top point guards from Europe, played pro ball in France instead of heading to America to play in the NCAA. As much as Hayes wanted to play in March Madness, his father convinced him that playing club ball in Europe would better prepare him for life as a pro.

DeRon, Haye’s father, never made it to the NBA even though he was a standout player at Penn State. The elder Hayes played pro ball in Europe for two decades and believed the Euro-pro route would be a better starting point for young Killian. The consensus in NBA mock drafts suggest Hayes will go late in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft.