After reclassifying to the 2019 class, 5-star guard RJ Hampton announced Tuesday that he will play professionally in New Zealand next season rather than playing collegiately.
Hampton said on ESPN's Get Up! that he will play for the New Zealand Breakers of the National Basketball League of Australia.
Hampton believes playing in New Zealand will best prepare him for the NBA:
"My No. 1 goal is to play in the NBA. I wanted to be an NBA player before I ever wanted to be a college player. This is about getting ready for the next level faster and more efficiently. Both of my parents went to college. My mom got her masters degree. Education is a big thing in our family, but this is about focusing 100 percent on basketball. You can always go back to college, but there's only a short window as an athlete where you can play professional basketball, and I want to take advantage of that. I think that challenging yourself on a daily basis is the best way to improve."
Matt Walsh, a partial owner of the Breakers, also commented on the signing:
"Signing a player of RJ's caliber is a monumental undertaking that we don't take lightly at the Breakers. His family has entrusted us with their son spending one of the most important years in his development in New Zealand, and we are going to do everything we can as an organization to ensure that he reaches his goal of being a high draft pick and prepare him as best as we can to come in ready to make an impact in the NBA."
Per 247Sports, Hampton is the No. 5 overall player, No. 2 combo guard and No. 1 player from the state of Texas in the 2019 class.
Hampton was considered one of the top players in the 2020 class, and this didn't change much when he decided to move up a class.