Terry Armstrong, one of the top basketball prospects in the class of 2019, will play next season for the South East Melbourne Phoenix of the National Basketball League in Australia, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports.
Per Uluc, Phoenix general manager Tommy Greer expressed enthusiasm about the addition of Armstrong:
"We are very excited to have a player of Terry's quality join the Phoenix for our first year in the NBL. It was important for us to identify a Next Star who could come in and contribute straight away but would also fit our no-nonsense culture. Just as exciting he was in a position to choose where he wanted to play and he chose us, which is a big vote of confidence in the culture we are building within our organisation and team."
Armstrong will join fellow top prospects like RJ Hampton (the No. 5 prospect in the class of 2019, per 247Sports.com's composite rankings) and LaMelo Ball (No. 22) in the NBL next season.
"RJ and LaMelo are two of the most highly rated players in our class," Armstrong told Givony. "The NBL will give all of us the top exposure we seek to fulfill our ultimate dream, which is to play in the NBA."
Armstrong also noted the NBL and the Phoenix offered a developmental plan that appealed to him.
"Head coach Simon Mitchell and general manager Tommy Greer laid out a very detailed plan on how I will develop as a player and as a young man," he said. "There is a strong emphasis on strength and conditioning as is evident on the hiring of the strength and development coach from Melbourne United."
Armstrong, a 6'6" shooting guard from Scottsdale, Arizona, is a 4-star prospect and the No. 2 player from the state of Arizona, the No. 8 shooting guard nationally and the No. 61 player overall in 247Sports' composite rankings.
Jerry Meyer of 247Sports broke down his game: "Great size and strength for a shooting guard. Not a quick-twitch, explosive athlete but a powerful athlete. Handles ball well and can score in a variety of ways. Likes to shoot a fadeaway off one foot. Has size to guard up a position or two. Projects as a steady rebounder. Could develop into an NBA player."
Armstrong was previously committed to the Arizona Wildcats but reversed course in June, instead choosing to turn pro.
Players in the NBL's Next Stars program are developed for at least one year with the goal of getting drafted into the NBA. NBL owner and executive chairman Larry Kestelman explained the initiative:
"The NBL provides strong visibility back to the US. Our league is closest to the NBA in terms of style of play and game day presentation. We will work to build a program to provide the right access to NBA teams and scouts alike.
"While they are in the NBL we will work with the players to help them develop an acute understanding of the life of a professional basketballer on and off the court and ensure they are equipped to make the transition to their professional careers."
For Armstrong, the hope will be improving his draft stock and making some money in the process. As more players eschew college basketball for paid opportunities overseas, his decision to sign with the NBL doesn't come as a major surprise.