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Breakers' teen sensation RJ Hampton 'prepared to work hard' in NBL

If American teenage sensation RJ Hampton feels the pressure of being one of the most-hyped NBL signing in recent years he isn't showing it.

The 18-year-old turned his back on scholarships from top US colleges to sign with the New Zealand Breakers in May.

"I've been having a great time," Hampton said during pre-season training, two weeks out from start of the competition proper.

"The coaching staff, the whole NBL group - they've been giving me a great hand.

"The biggest difference is my team mates' age. I'm the youngest guy on the team. I just came from a high school team where I was the oldest.

"But I like it a lot ... as long you're prepared to work hard you're fine."

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The Breakers' new recruit got a crash course in rugby from the Iceman. Source: 1 NEWS

Hampton has entered the professional ranks directly via the NBL's Next Stars scheme, having bypassed offers from leading American colleges.

Hailing from Little Elm High School in Texas, he is touted as a top-five prospect in next year's NBA draft.

It means NBA scouts will be keeping a keen eye on Hampton, along with countryman LaMelo Ball, 18, who is following a similar path in the NBL with the Illawarra Hawks this season.

But the attention is water off a duck's back for Hampton, who admitted he'd be closely watched regardless of where he played.

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The 18-year-out breakout star says his first goal is to win an NBL championship. Source: 1 NEWS

"NBA scouts are going to be watching college basketball games (also)," he said.

"I'll just play the solid basketball I've always played. Fast-paced, get my team mates involved and score when it's there."

Hampton and Ball are in Tasmania with their respective squads for the NBL pre- season tournament which is being played over the weekend.

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Sam Tarrell of Hoop Brothers detailed the significance of Hampton choosing NZ over College basketball. Source: 1 NEWS


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