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Top prospect Jonathan Kuminga opts for G League over NCAA

Another top-flight basketball recruit has opted for the NBA G League over college basketball.

Jonathan Kuminga, a top-five prospect from The Patrick School in Hillside, NJ, opted to bypass college and head to the G League’s professional pathway program. The new G League team will feature other top prospects who made a similar choice, a group that includes Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, Daishen Nix and Kai Sotto.

Kuminga is ranked by ESPN as the No. 4 player in the nation and the top player in New Jersey in the Class of 2020. A native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kuminga played at The Patrick School in Hillside, NJ, last season after previously attending Huntington Prep School in W. Va. and Our Savior New American School in New York.

Kuminga was the No. 1 recruit in the 2021 class and the No. 4 prospect in 2020. He reclassified to the 2020 class after graduating high school last month. He reportedly cut his list of options to five teams: Texas Tech, Duke, Auburn, Kentucky and the G League.

The Athletic reports Kuminga said had he picked the college route, he would have gone to Texas Tech because his brother, Joel Ntambwe, plays there.

“I don’t see myself as a high school player again,” Kuminga told The Athletic. “I see my potential as an NBA player and with the G League they’ll help me a lot more than college. They’ll help me off and on the court and to reach my goal to be the No. 1 draft (pick) in 2021. The G League will help me more than how college was going to help me on being the player I want to be right now, and going pro. They’re going to help me on everything; my skills and developing my body.”

A 6-foot-8 combo forward, he starred at The Patrick School — the same school that Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving attended — averaging 16.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. In the 2018-19 season, he earned MaxPreps National Sophomore of the Year honors after averaging 25 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 5.0 apg for Our Savior New American.

Kuminga was also one of the most productive players on the Nike EYBL circuit last spring and summer, averaging 22.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 3.3 apg in 19 games with the NY Rens.

Former NBA coach and player Brian Shaw was recently named coach of the new G League team, which will be unaffiliated with any existing G League franchise or NBA team.