One of the top incoming freshmen in the Pac-12 has decided to begin his professional career at least a year earlier than expected, a decision that figures to affect the balance of power in the conference in 2020-21.
Daishen Nix, a 5-star point guard who signed with UCLA in November, said Tuesday he would not attend college but instead would sign a deal with the NBA’s G League.
“Going to the NBA was always a dream for me, and playing for the G League is just one step down and it will help me develop my game for the 2021 Draft,” Nix told 247Sports’ Evan Daniels.
The 6-foot-5 Nix, a McDonald’s All-American was ranked as the No. 15 player in the 2020 recruiting class, becomes the third prospect from that class to bypass college for the G League. Combo guard Jalen Green, the No. 3 overall player, and power forward Isaiah Todd, the No. 13 player.
In 2018 the G League created the Pathway Program meant to provide a different route to the pros for top prep talent than playing in college, though nearly every top-tier prospect who bypassed college either entered the NBA Draft early or played professionally overseas. Earlier this month the G League announced a new Select team specifically for such players, with salaries reportedly being as high as $500,000 for the 5-month season.
Nix’s decision to go pro could be a big boost for Arizona, since it’s one less elite prospect joining the Pac-12 (though ASU, Stanford and USC all have 5-star players set to join their teams this fall). It’s also a further indication that the days of focusing on one-and-done college basketball players may no longer be the best course of action, which aligns well with the UA’s current recruiting approach which has seen it sign four international players for 2020-21.
Stanford PG Tyrell Terry unlikely to return, per report
NBA Draft early entrants have until June 15 to withdraw their names from consideration, assuming they haven’t hired an agent. There are exceptions if the agency has NCAA certification, which is the case with the one Stanford point guard Tyrell Terry signed with.
Terry told The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie he has yet to make up his mind, though it sounds like he’s not going back to The Farm for another season:
“I’m looking for information that favors me, to try to figure out if it’s better for me to come out this year or next year,” Terry said. “There are certain things I’m looking for specifically, but I’m confident in my ability to play at the next level right now. My intentions are to stay in this draft.”
The 6-foot-1 Terry averaged 14.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game as a freshman. His departure would be a big blow to Stanford, but the Cardinal aren’t going to be hurting too bad. Not when they signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the Pac-12 which includes 5-star wing Ziarie Williams, a top UA target.
USC guard Elijah Weaver enters transfer portal
It isn’t just the Arizona Wildcats that are undergoing a massive roster overhaul among Pac-12 teams. USC is in a similar boat, with another member of the 2019-20 team jumping ship.
Shooting guard Elijah Weaver, who started 14 games as a sophomore last season, has entered the transfer portal according to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.
The 6-foot-6 Weaver averaged 6.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists last season, scoring 10 points in 57 minutes in two games against Arizona.
Weaver is the third player to transfer from USC, along with little-used guards Kyle Sturdivant and Charles O’Bannon Jr., and the Trojans also lost freshman big man Onyeka Okongwu to the NBA Draft as well as four seniors who started a combined 76 games.
In return the Trojans signed two 2020 prospects, including 5-star center Evan Mobley, and added transfers from Santa Clara (point guard Tahj Eaddy), Wofford (power forward Chevez Goodwin), Utah Valley (shooting guard Isaiah White) and Long Beach State (center Joshua Morgan).