LeBron James Jr., better known as ‘Bronny,’ is not far away from making a decision on where to play his college basketball. However, outside of his last name and upside, college coaches aren’t particularly high on where the combo guard currently stands with his game.
Bronny, who stands 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, is a four-star recruit in the upcoming Class of 2023. He did not ink his National Letter of Intent during the Early Signing Period earlier this month, which means that he will commit to his future program when the Regular Signing Period opens on April 12, 2023.
In the meantime, Bronny is finishing up his senior year at Sierra Canyon High School in Los Angeles and signing massive NIL deals with major companies. As things currently stand, the son of the four-time NBA Finals champion and 18-time All-Star has official offers from Memphis, Ohio State and USC, with interest from Duke, Kansas and Kentucky, among others.
Bronny will likely have his pick of the litter. He can likely play anywhere in the country that he so chooses and is good enough to deserve that right. His last name certainly helps.
However, there is a belief that Bronny is the not player he is made out to be—yet, at least. The Athletic recently spoke to a group of college basketball coaches under the guise of anonymity and they mostly expressed that he still has a long way to go in his development.
Is Bronny James ready?!
In a world where generational basketball talents are going to college for one year and then entering the NBA Draft, most coaches and scouts who spoke with The Athletic don’t believe that Bronny will be ready by year two. He might not be ready by year three.
“The expectation doesn’t match the talent level, or at least not yet,” said one coach. “And that’s where it gets messy.”
“Right now, he just doesn’t have the talent where you’re saying, ‘OK, I’m bringing him in and he’s my guy,’” said another. “He might get there, but he’s not there yet.”
As for the positives, there are plenty. Bronny has a high basketball IQ, makes great decisions, and has a lot of athleticism to back up his play.
But with that being said, if he is as good or better than the other players in his class, then why hasn’t he committed?
“If it were a no-brainer, he’d be (signed by) Duke right now. It would be done,” one coach said. “Gold Kentucky. There’s a reason he’s not.”
Once Bronny gets to college, there is another issue at hand. He is LeBron James Jr. and his name makes it hard to keep him on the bench.
“You’re going to need to play him,” one coach says.
Another coach explained that it’s a dual-edged sword.
“This is LeBron’s kid,” he said. “If you play him 30 minutes and then you don’t win, what are you doing? But if you play him eight minutes and you do win, are people going to think you’re an ass—for not playing LeBron’s kid?”
As a result, there is an internal conversation that needs to be had amongst programs recruiting James Jr.
“Do we want this?” asked another coach. “Do we want this attention? This pressure? Yeah, you’re going to sell a lot of tickets, but it’s a lot to manage.”
At the end of the day, there is no denying that Bronny James can hoop. He is a great player.
The question now is where he ends up and his role once he gets there. Bronny is good enough to help take a program to the next level, but can he be more than a solid role player? We’ll have to wait and see.