Overtime Elite professional league is changing the landscape for high school basketball players who want to forego college.
Early this morning, Jalen Lewis, 16, signed a $1 million contract, becoming the youngest basketball player in the history of the sport to sign a professional contract in America.
“110% Committed! OTE Let’s Rock!,” he tweeted earlier today.
“Jalen is one of the most exciting young talents in the country, and we are humbled that he has chosen Overtime Elite to elevate his professional development on the court and academically, while building his brand internationally,” Brandon Williams, OTE executive vice president, said in a release via ESPN.
Background: Lewis is a five-star recruit and junior at Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland. At 6’9”, he’s ranked sixth by Rivals and second by ESPN for the class of 2023. He reportedly had received offers from Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Michigan, and UCLA.
Overtime Elite: The newfound league guarantees high school athletes at least $100,000 annually, including health insurance. Former NBA player and UConn coach Kevin Ollie is the head coach. The downside, as mentioned, is that they lose high school and college eligibility — but they’ll play at a professional level, make money, and play against the best prep schools and international teams.
Lewis is the highest-paid player of the 10 they’ve signed thus far. Brothers Ryan and Matt Bewley —class of 2023 — are behind him at $500,000.