News started to break late Tuesday night that the G-League was offering six figure deals to targeted high school seniors. The G-League has been trying to raise their brand ,and one of the ways to do that is to get some of the best young talent in America to join the former NBA Development League.
Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, and Terrence Clarke reportedly were the players that Rod Strickland of the G-League reached out to.
Jalen Green is the third-ranked player in the class of 2020 and has yet to decide where he will go after his senior year of high school. It’s down between the Memphis Tigers, the Auburn Tigers, and playing professionally.
Jalen Suggs is the eighth-ranked player in the class and has already committed to the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
And, of course, Terrence Clarke is the fourth-ranked player in the class and he is committed to Kentucky.
Out of the three players targeted, only Clarke has spoken out about the subject. Kentucky fans were obviously worried that the potential best player on the team would bolt before even playing a second in a Kentucky uniform, but he confirmed his pledge to the Cats with a tweet:
BBN, don’t worry, my loyalty never changed. I’m here to stay. Can’t wait to get on campus and get to work and chase #9 with my brothers! ✊ pic.twitter.com/64ONm7WzpS— Terrence Clarke (@terrenceclarke_) April 15, 2020
This mini-saga reminded me a little bit of another player that had a decision to make about playing professionally before playing at Kentucky: Hamidou Diallo.
Clarke, like Diallo before him, is a top 10 recruit and five-star shooting guard with an eye-popping mix tape and big-time NBA potential. It’s obvious that the G-League wanted Clarke to play professional basketball sooner rather than later. It’s also of note that Clarke was wooed along with two of the best guard prospects in the class.
Diallo had a great deal of hype coming to Kentucky after turning down the NBA Draft at the midnight hour (literally). Unfortunately for Diallo, that hype never materialized as he struggled throughout the season, coming off of the bench at times for the Cats.
The frustration with Diallo came from a sense of high expectations from the fan base due to his NBA hype. Many wondered what in the world the NBA could want with Diallo after watching him struggle to keep up with other college basketball players.
Are there now similar expectations with Terrence Clarke?
If there are, then I don’t think it’s fair. Most people have never seen him play outside of YouTube clips. Those clips are for sure enticing. He has the size, the speed, the hops, and the handle to be a very special player at Kentucky. But sometimes, as we’ve seen many times before, those skills don’t always translate to good basketball (ahem... Khalil Whitney).
I’m a believer in Clarke and I think, along with BJ Boston, he will be one of the most important pieces of the 2020 team. If he had opted to go the professional route, Calipari would have been in a bad spot. But he weighed his options and decided to stay committed. UK fans should already be thankful to him.
But they should also temper their expectations. It may be hard to at this moment, but we should all learn from history that expectations don’t always fit with reality.