Rather than pad the NCAA coffers for a year or two, highly touted high school prospect RJ Hampton took his talents to Oceania and plied his craft in the National Basketball League this year. Unfortunately for both Hampton and the New Zealand Breakers, the ride ended prematurely, as an injured hip cut his season short and in lieu of that injury, Hampton has returned to the U.S.
from nbl.com.au :
New Zealand Breakers Next Star RJ Hampton is returning home to the United States to continue rehabilitation on his injured hip and preparation for the 2020 NBA Draft.
18-year-old Hampton has been nursing the injury for the last month, playing his final game against the Brisbane Bullets on January 12.
In total, he played 15 games, averaged 8.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists.
NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said: “RJ leaves the NBL as a projected top ten pick in the NBA Draft.
“There is no doubt the time he has spent in a world class league in the NBL has helped prepare him for the next step in his professional career.
“Like all NBL Next Stars, we are proud to have played a part in his journey to the NBA and have enjoyed getting to know him and his family.
“We wish him every success and look forward to following his career in the years to come.”
Breakers Owner Matt Walsh says there is little doubt Hampton’s presence in New Zealand has had a positive effect on basketball across the country.
“We wish him well in his continued recovery and preparation for the NBA Draft and look forward to draft night when he will no doubt be a top pick.
“We would like to thank RJ and his family for their time here in Auckland, we are proud to have played a role in such a talented young player on his journey to the NBA”.