As was the idea, G League squad serves to Ignite NBA careers

Jaden Hardy hardly thought twice when asked to revisit his decision. In a world where some college athletes are returning to campuses for million-dollar deals, Hardy chose to toss the books aside and join the NBA pipeline with the G League’s Ignite squad.

Hardy did what he thought would put him ahead of the curve.

“I was ready to be a pro and work on my game full-time,” Hardy said. “It’s about whatever that recruit or prospect wants, really. With me, I wanted to be challenged.”

When Ignite was founded in 2020, it came at a time where players were actively seeking alternative routes to the NBA. The idea of ​​NIL still felt like a dream. High school players were placing countries’ flags in their final lists. There was no telling just how successful Ignite could be in yanking young prospects from the school system.

In its short-lived existence, the program has carved a transcendent path for young prospects who skip school. A year removed from having two players selected in the top 10, a project that once seemed a risky bet will possibly see three first-round picks called in Hardy, Dyson Daniels and MarJon Beauchamp in Thursday night’s NBA draft.

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