A member of the Team Trae Young family is taking a big leap and making history in the process.
Dink Pate has decided to forego college and signed a two-year contract with the NBA’s G-League Ignite with the intent to enter the 2025 NBA Draft.
“The whole idea of why I started playing basketball was to be a pro,” he told ESPN. “G League Ignite brings me one step closer to my dream. It’s all about the development of my game. I want to thank coach Jason Hart and G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim for choosing me. I’m going to keep working to the best of my ability to prove that I can play in the NBA.”
With much pray, thought, consideration, and council I have chosen to reclassify up from the class of 2024 to the class of 2023.
I will forgo college and sign with the
NBA G-League IGNITE⚡️and enter into the 2025 NBA Draft!!! #NeighborhoodHero #TheONE
~ GOD will provide pic.twitter.com/5meNVSJa6b
— “DINK” Pate (@IAMTHESHOOTER1) April 18, 2023
NEWS: Dink Pate, a five-star recruit in 2024, has signed a two-year deal with G League Ignite, he told ESPN. Pate, who is graduating high school at 17, becomes the youngest-known American professional basketball player ever.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) April 17, 2023
By joining the Ignite at just 17 years old, Dink will become the youngest pro basketball player in U.S. history. Scoot Henderson, who spent the last two years with the Ignite after making the same decision in 2021 was the previous youngest, but Dink is five months younger than Henderson was when he joined the Ignite.
Henderson will head to the NBA this summer and is projected to go as high as second overall in the 2023 NBA Draft, but the Ignite are still loaded with talent. Matas Buzelis, the consensus top talent ticketed for the 2024 NBA Draft will be on the roster next year, as will projected 2024 first rounder London Johnson, who Dink will move to Las Vegas to train with later this summer.
“We all have the same dream,” he told ESPN. “Scoot Henderson’s dream is to be one of the best players in the league. Talking to London — it seems like he’s all about his business. I’m sure he’s going to get to the league in 2024. It’s all pro life, there’s not too much playing around. Everyone is about their business. They are getting paid to pay. No one wants to mess up the checks. It’s all business out there. I like to get straight to the point, not a lot of chatter stuff.”
Congratulations to Team Trae Young family member @IAMTHESHOOTER1 on signing a 2 year deal with the G League Ignite! We are very proud of you Dink!! Go be great!!#teamtraeyoung #3ssb pic.twitter.com/36fHCgalMI
— Team Trae Young (@teamtraeyoungmb) April 18, 2023
To make this dream a reality, Dink has been putting in work in the classroom and taking online classes that have allowed him to reclassify for the Class of 2023 and graduate a year early.
“I had to take extra online classes,” he said. “It was a lot of work. I graduated early and will walk June 2.”
Dink’s college decision was one of the most highly anticipated for the Class of 2024, but he had long intended to join the Class of 2023 and graduate early. He was down to Arkansas or Alabama and was planning to enroll at one of the schools this summer before he was presented with the opportunity to join the Ignite. Now, through a G-League sponsored program he will be enrolled in online classes at Arizona State University.
As far as his forecast on the court over the next two years playing in the G-League, the 6-8 point guard, who played up against Class of 2022 and 2023 talent on the TTY 17U team as a 16-year old, is confident he’s ready for the challenge.
“I’ve been prepping for this day my whole life,” he told ESPN. I’ve always played against older players; I’ve never played down. I’m going to have the same role I’ve been playing, as a combo guard playing the 1 and 2. My main thing is getting in the weight room and getting bigger, keeping my handle tight, passing the ball and playing to the best of my ability.”