In recent days, one prominent national college basketball analyst has said that he believes the Texas Tech basketball program’s top recruit, Jonathan Kuminga, might be leaning towards the NBA G League.
Though the Texas Tech basketball program has had a wildly successful offseason when it comes to restocking the roster with talent, Red Raider fans still want more. Specifically, we want the nation’s No. 1 high school player, Jonathan Kuminga, to join his half-brother Joel Ntambwe in Lubbock.
But if one respected national recruiting analyst is correct, every college still in the race for the 6-foot-8 forward might be disappointed. That’s because Corey Evans of 247Sports.com believes that the NBA G League is the way Kuminga is leaning.
After deciding to welcome high school players for one year and offering some over $100,000, the G League, which is the NBA version of a minor league, has landed some of the top high school talent in the nation and from around the world. Already, several top players have decided to go this route to prepare for the NBA rather than spending a year on a college campus. That list includes 5-star guard Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, Daishen Nix from Las Vegas, and 7-2 Kai Sotto from the Philippines.
However, securing the services of the Kuminga, who 247Sports has given the rare perfect 1.0000 player rating, would be the biggest victory yet for the G League. And it would be a blow to the hopes of Texas Tech basketball fans who already believe that the upcoming season could yield a National Championship.
“I don’t even know if I’d say it’s the G League,” Evans told the Lexington Herald-Leader recently. “I’d just say professionally, in general. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s overseas in, say, Europe or Australia. Or the G League.
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“It’s still in the beginning stages for the G League and Jonathan and those talks. They’ve been pretty clear that they want to keep those talks internal. They don’t want it being broadcast out there. … But I think that, as of now, the push is to play professionally for a year and starting that clock toward the NBA. Whether it’s the G League, whether it’s Europe, whether it’s Australia — wherever it might be.”
Last month, Kuminga cut his list of options to Texas Tech, Auburn, Kentucky, Duke, or the G League. That gave Red Raider fans renewed hope that one of the best high school prospects in the history of the recruit ranking era might be on his way to the Hub City.
That remains a possibility of course and Evans thinks that if Kuminga spends a year on campus, it will be either at Tech or Auburn.
“I think it’s more of an Auburn-Texas Tech battle,” Evans said. “I’m not saying he’s using the names of Duke and Kentucky. I think it’s definitely there, and every elite guy is always going to be interested by Duke and Kentucky, but I think it’s more Auburn, Texas Tech or the professional route right now.”
However, there remains another potential fly in the ointment as far as Texas Tech fans are concerned. That’s because as of yet, Kuminga has yet to reclassify to the class of 2020 meaning that he could still spend next season in high school. Were that to happen, it is possible that the thought of pairing him up with his brother at Tech might dissolve if Ntambwe were to head to the NBA next offseason. The former UNLV forward did go through the draft evaluation process last offseason before deciding to come to Texas Tech so it is conceivable that he could head to the professional ranks after a solid 2020-21.
However this recruiting battle plays out, Texas Tech basketball fans know that the next version of the Red Raiders is going to be the most impressive collection of individual talent that has ever been assembled in program history. But if Kiminga heads to the G League, the thoughts of a Red Raider super team would become just fantasy after feeling so close to becoming a reality just weeks ago.