Top 10 Moments of the 2018-19 DFW Sports Season: #9
The next moment on our countdown of Top 10 sports moments in the DFW was the saga in Little Elm, which unfolded into a delicious, multilayer cake of intrigue.
No. 9: Segler Reassignment/RJ Hampton Goes Pro
It all began about a month and a half after the season came to a close. Little Elm was eliminated in the Area Round by eventual 5A State Champion Mansfield Timberview. Little Elm, led by all-world wing RJ Hampton, finished the year with a 24-10 record, a second place finish in 8-5A and were set to return one of the state's most prolific scorers for his senior season.
On April 8, news broke in the afternoon that long-time basketball coach Rusty Segler was being reassigned.
BREAKING: Rusty Segler, who is battling cancer, has been reassigned and is no longer Little Elm's boys basketball coach.
Little Elm ISD won't say why he was reassigned.
Will 5-star recruit RJ Hampton return to Little Elm for his senior year? https://t.co/JOSOmtyZks @SportsDayHS pic.twitter.com/i30HTSqH8x
— Greg Riddle (@DMNGregRiddle) April 8, 2019
It was a shocking move as Segler, who had coached for 35 years, held the head coaching position at Little Elm since 2010, won nearly 64 percent of his games (181-104) and reached the playoffs in seven of his nine years at the school. Rewind about 30 months prior, though, when Segler was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow.
When the news broke of Segler's reassignment, the immediate focus turned to RJ Hampton - as seen above. Would he transfer? Would he reclassify? How will this impact the star's near future with designs on going to the NBA.
After 22 days, the second shoe dropped. RJ Hampton reclassified, making himself eligible to graduate in 2019 and enrolled to play in the 2019-20 college season and then be able to be drafted in June 2020.
Speculation ratcheted up again about Hampton as to what college would get the 5-star guard's services a year earlier than expected.
Hampton held a plethora of offers but had previously narrowed his Top 4 choices to Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Memphis before reclassifying. Then in May, he announced he would make his collegiate decision on May 28 with his choices being Texas Tech, Kansas and Memphis.
Little did we know at that time, an entirely different plan had been hatched. On May 28th, Hampton went on to ESPN's "Get Up" and announced he would forgo college and go play professionally in the Australian NBL for the New Zealand Breakers.
RJ Hampton (ranked No. 5 recruit in ESPN Top 100) will forgo college to play professionally in Australia's NBL. pic.twitter.com/xWmh7V5RaF
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 28, 2019
Hampton then took to Twitter to answer some lingering questions, saying the deal had been signed a month before - essentially around the time he reclassified to graduate in 2019 - and his goal was never to play in college but to get to the next level - the NBA.
Hampton wasn't the first to bypass college for playing professionally overseas - Emmanuel Mudiay from the DFW being another recent example - but it was completely unexpected in his case.
As it stands now, Hampton is still projected as a lottery pick for the 2020 NBA Draft by a number of publications. The 2019 NBL season will most likely kick off around mid-October for Hampton and his Breakers teammates.