ANBL: Breakers buoyant over RJ Hampton 'experiment'

One of America's most promising basketball talents has shunned offers from some of the most exclusive universities in the US to sign a two-year deal with the NZ Breakers.

Eighteen-year-old RJ Hampton rejected the chance to attend Harvard or Duke, instead choosing to start his professional career in the Aussie NBL, and his arrival could be a game-changer for both the Breakers and the league.

It's a path rarely travelled by players his age, Hampton opting against the traditional college route to the NBA.

For the Breakers, it's unchartered territory. They've signed Hampton for two years and aren't shying away from their motivation.

"Does it make sense for us commercially? Absolutely," general manager Dillon Boucher told Newshub. "But at this stage, we're just trying to help develop him and get him to the player he wants to be.

"Obviously, this is an experiment, but it's a calculated experiment."

If the NBA comes knocking before his two years are up, the Auckland-based club could be paid as much as $1.3 million dollars for his release.

Breakers captain Tom Abercrombie is happy to see how the situation plays out.

"It's unprecedented," Abercrombie said. "We've had a couple of guys come through the 'Next Stars' programme in a couple of different teams, but none quite of the calibre and the talent of RJ."

Auckland is a world away from the pressure of US high school basketball, but the hype around RJ Hampton is just as real.