The G League Ignite team, also known as the professional pathway program, allows elite high-school prospects to play professionally before declaring for the NBA Draft.
Players develop in an NBA environment in Walnut Creek, California. This is alongside veteran coaches and players, where they compete against professional athletes and learn all there is to know off the court. From managing money to the importance of rest and recovery.
This is an alternative route to the traditional college path or heading overseas to play professionally. G League Ignite prospects earn salaries and can acquire endorsement deals. Additional funds can be earned through appearances, development duties, and community initiatives.
Current Ignite prospects Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga are reportedly being paid $500,000. Initial plans included Ignite facing off against alumni teams and international academies in exhibition contests. But since, the team have been part of a fully fledged G League bubble season in Disney World, Orlando.
Could Chet Holmgren Join G League Ignite?
A top name in the class of 2021, Chet Holmgren, is set to make a decision on his immediate future. A decision that could include signing in the G League. Players of Holmgren’s talent-level could immediately step up to the NBA, however, they do have to adhere by the one-and-done rule. This is where they have to complete a season at college, or professionally outside of the NBA, before declaring for the draft.
The 7-foot-1 center has, and is mulling over, scholarship offers from Georgetown, Gonzaga, Memphis, and Michigan. Offers from Minnesota, North Carolina, and Ohio State are also on the table. Gonzaga are strongly favored to be the front runners at present time, according to the 247Sports Crystal Ball.
Although, whilst he is focusing on his college offers, the 18-year-old is aware of the various routes at his disposal.
“I personally don’t know enough about that route to make a definitive answer one way or the other,” Holmgren told 247Sports’ Evan Daniels about G League Ignite. “All routes are intriguing, there are so many new routes for everybody to choose.”
“It’s hard enough to pick from 30 schools. But now I have to pick from five different options. It’s a lot but a degree has always been big to my parents and to me as well so right now I’m definitely thinking college.”
The Traditional College Route Could Tip Ignite:
Education appears to be important to Holmgren, with college looking to be his preferred path. However, Daishen Nix did initially commit to UCLA before decommiting to join the Ignite team. Nix reportedly signed a $300,000 deal with the program led by 5-time NBA Champion and Head Coach, Brian Shaw.
Featuring in the NBA’s long underutilized minor league gives prospects a head start in their professional development. Players are showcased directly to NBA scouts, in an accessible market, and they can grow accustomed to the pace of play. As well as the terminology of the professional ranks. Not to mention, education on the hectic lifestyle that sits ahead off the court.
The number one prospect in the country reaffirmed his intentions to join the college ranks in a recent interview with CBS Sports, “Yeah, I am definitely looking to find a college to play for,” Holmgren said. “My decision is definitely going to come down to my fit into the school all the way from basketball stuff to academics.”
Whether an offer is on the table from the G League is unknown. But the route would provide a viable path to the NBA for the highly touted prospect. Especially with the team possessing two potential top-5 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, in Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. Daishen Nix’s strong showings are potentially putting him in the race to be a lottery pick too.
An Imminent Decision Looms:
Holmgren has been representing Minnehaha Academy in Minnesota at the high-school level. As a junior, he averaged 14.3 points per game, where he led his team to a 25-3 record. On January 4, 2020, he recorded 9 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 blocks in a victory over Sierra Canyon on national television.
With all eyes on the G League bubble at the moment, league President Shareef Abdur-Rahim will be working hard behind the scenes to secure Ignite signatures for the 2021-22 season.
Numerous reports have suggested that Chet Holmgren may announce his decision very soon. It looks like we won’t have to wait long to see whether Holmgreen will opt to link up with the G League Ignite on his path to the NBA.
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