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LaMelo Ball (L) and RJ Hampton (R). Photo: Kelly Defina/Getty Images

While the majority of America's top high school talent chose to spend the year in college where they will earn $0 in wages, LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton chose to spend the year in Australia's National Basketball League where they will earn $68,400 each in wages.

What they're saying: Ball was unlikely to be NCAA eligible anyway after playing professionally in Lithuania, but Hampton had full eligibility — he simply chose the path he thought would best prepare him for the NBA.

"My dream has never been to play college basketball. My dream has always been to get to the next level and play in the NBA, so ... I think this was the best route for me to live like a pro and play with grown men every day and not have to juggle books and basketball and just focus on my main goal."
R.J. Hampton

The big picture: Hampton's decision embodies the modern challenge facing college basketball, but fears over this becoming the new normal are exaggerated. After all, as I mentioned up top, the "one-and-done" era will likely end soon. And when it does, these alternative paths will be moot.

The bottom line: We've seen international prospects make noise before, but we've never seen two young Americans — both active on social media with massive followings — playing overseas while their former classmates play on campuses. Should be an fun storyline to follow.

Go deeper: A look at this season's college basketball storylines

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.