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Mick Cronin slams NBA, G League Ignite for recruiting UCLA commit Daishen Nix

Ryan Young
·3 min read
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UCLA coach Mick Cronin slammed the NBA and the G League on Friday over their signing of former Bruins recruit Daishen Nix last year.

Cronin, speaking on ESPN radio, said that the G League Ignite team actively recruited Nix after he had committed to UCLA simply because he filled a position they needed.

Cronin: ‘Let’s just call it what it is’

Nix was the Rivals.com No. 15 player in the country in the class of 2020, and drew interest from Illinois, Kansas, Gonzaga and more. The Las Vegas native committed to UCLA in August 2019, and signed a national letter of intent to play there months later.

Nix, though, never made it to UCLA.

Instead, he turned pro and played last season for the Ignite team — something Cronin isn’t happy about. He said that the Ignite needed a point guard, so they started working to discourage Nix from playing at UCLA.

"There were things that were said in the process that just weren't right," Cronin said, via ESPN. "I know what was said to him. I know things that were told to him and scared him about UCLA not playing or college basketball not happening, and that's cool if that's how they want to do it. They don't give a damn about what the hell I say or what I think. I'm the least of their worries. Let's just call it what it is and downplay that the guy was committed and changed his mind.

"No, no, no, [the Ignite] actively recruited him, knew he was signed because you needed a point guard for that team and that's fine, but let's just call it what it is. We're not on the same team."

Nix averaged 8.8 points and 5.3 assists in 15 games for the Ignite last season. He is one of several prominent players to opt for the G League or professional route instead of college in recent years, joining Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga and even LaMelo Ball — who played one season in Australia before his rookie season in the NBA this year.

Cronin, in his second season with the Bruins, is set to lead them up against Alabama in the Sweet 16 in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Sunday.

It isn’t the fact that Nix didn’t end up at UCLA that got him so upset. He’s fine with players wanting to play professionally right out of high school. But it’s the process, and the fact that he sees college basketball as a “free farm system for 40 years for the NBA” that’s the issue.

"You should [turn pro out of high school if you want to]," Cronin said, via ESPN. "It's America. A guy can go to war when he's 18. He can grab a gun and get killed for our country, but he can't put his name in the [NBA] draft? Come on, man, it's ridiculous.

“I just don't like the two-faced lies and acting like we didn't recruit the kid."

Head coach Mick Cronin of the UCLA Bruins
UCLA coach Mick Cronin didn't hold back when talking about the NBA G League on Friday. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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