Rod Strickland hired to lead NBA's G League professional path program

The G League has hired former NBA player Rod Strickland to lead its professional path program, the league announced Tuesday.

The G League recently announced that it was creating an option for elite players out of high school to bypass the one-and-done route through college basketball and be part of the program that would prepare them for the NBA.

Strickland’s role will be to evaluate those elite players, then help them transition into the G League and professional basketball, in general.

He will be on the road evaluating players and explaining to them the purpose and benefits of the program, which will see top players be paid $125,000 for the five-month season, as opposed to not being paid at a Division I school per NCAA rules.

“We will have former players and former G League players to guide (the pro path players),” Strickland told ESPN on Tuesday. “We want to help them in everyday life, like balancing a checkbook, understanding what’s out there — and how not to get caught up in the wrong things. Just like with a college kid, we will put in place a structure to help guide them.

“I’ve enjoyed a lot of different kinds of experiences in basketball, enjoyed the mentorship part in college and I’m looking forward to the evaluation and helping of young men attain their goals on and off the court.”

Former WNBA player Allison Feaster will work with Strickland to oversee the group of players selected to join the inaugural program but will monitor the program on a broader basis.

Feaster said she expects a “handful” of elite players to bypass college and be part of the inaugural class in for the 2019-20 season.

“It will be elite prospects with a readiness for a professional league,” Feaster told ESPN. “We want to target players who would not be going to a university if it weren’t for the NBA eligibility rule. That’s more or less what’s going to dictate this.”

Strickland played 17 seasons in the NBA, which included time with the Knicks, Spurs, Trail Blazers and Wizards. He also spent time coaching at the collegiate level as an assistant with South Florida and Kentucky.

Feaster started her 20-year WNBA career with the Los Angeles Sparks before moving on to the Charlotte Sting and the Indiana Fever.