29 May 2019

Breakers sign young American star

5:26 am on 29 May 2019

The New Zealand Breakers have signed American point guard RJ Hampton, a player widely considered a first-round pick in the NBA draft next year.

Matt Walsh Breakers CEO.


The 18-year-old received offers from some leading American basketball colleges including Duke, Kansas and Kentucky.

The decision to turn his back on them and instead play in Auckland will be greeted with shock in the US.

"RJ is our first international recruit for the upcoming season and we have plenty more exciting announcements ahead," said Breakers owner Matt Walsh.

Hampton had 30.3 points, 8 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game as a sophomore at his High School in Texas.

The Texan says the decision to play in Auckland was easy because of the Australian NBL's reputation as one of the world's best leagues outside the NBA.

"I just kind of wanted to set the trend (of forgoing College in favour of an overseas basketball contract). I've never wanted to be normal. My family is coming over there, so I will have my mum, my dad, my brother, so I will be living with them and it will kind of like be home but basketball is a job now, so I've got to go to work now and just play basketball", Hampton said.

Hampton will bring with him a massive following to Auckland with more Instagram followers than all nine NBL clubs combined.

He was a member of the USA U17 FIBA World Cup Team which won a gold medal in Argentina last year.

USA Today also named the Texan in its All-USA first team just last month.