The overtime elite league brings changes. What do rookies think?

The second season of the Overtime Elite (OTE) professional basketball league is set to feature several tantalizing matchups between some of the best high school basketball players in the nation.

In addition to Amen and Ausar Thompson, who are expected to be the top picks in next year’s NBA draft, the OTE league includes many of the nation’s top college basketball rookies, such as Naasir Cunningham (who is of interest to the UK) and Bryson Tiller.

Players of this caliber will face other top prospects like Elliot Cadeau, Isaiah Elohim and Bronny James as the OTE league recently announced improved schedule changes for the 2022-23 season, including pre- renowned season.

Players like Cunningham, who announced in April that he was joining Overtime Elite, can remain college basketball rookies while playing in the OTE league as long as they forego a salary to preserve their college eligibility. Cunningham signed with OTE as a scholarship player, becoming the first player to go that route.

OTE players like Cunningham can still make money from name, image, and likeness opportunities while still maintaining college eligibility.

Naasir Cunningham
Naasir Cunningham, a top recruit in the Class of 2024, played high school basketball in New Jersey before choosing to end his prep career in the Overtime Elite league. Gregory Payan PA

The upcoming 90-game schedule for Overtime Elite this season also includes enhancements such as growing from a three-team league to a six-team league (three nationwide prep schools have been added), in addition to a highly anticipated pre-season tournament featuring Bronny and Bryce James, Cam and Cayden Boozer and five-star Duke commit Jared McCain.

More than two-thirds of the 90 OTE games scheduled this season will be played at the OTE Arena in Atlanta, part of a more than 100,000 square foot facility that houses the OTE program.

All 90 games of the 2022-23 season will be streamed on YouTube, and if that exposure wasn’t enough, a Pro Day for NBA teams will take place at the end of October.

The league — which counts Jeff Bezos, Drake and several NBA players among its investors — continues to make efforts to reshape the basketball landscape for young talent looking to depart from traditional college and high school careers.

“Trying to think about what’s going to move Naas forward – getting better, stronger and what environment he should be in – that’s where it all started,” Cunningham’s father Erik previously told the Herald-Leader. about OTE.

A look at the current basketball recruiting landscape reveals just how effective OTE has been in a short time.

While in Chicago last month for the Under Armor Next Elite 24 basketball showcase, the Herald-Leader asked some of the nation’s top basketball rookies about their thoughts on Overtime Elite and the G -League Ignite, another path of development that serves as an alternative to college basketball.

Some players have smartly responded by leaving the door open to both options.

” I thought about it. I feel like I can learn a lot more about it, so I don’t want to just jump on it, but I’ve definitely thought about it,” said Ian Jackson, one of Kentucky’s top recruits currently in the promotion. of 2024. “It’s definitely something to think about, but I’m not going to turn it down. I feel like if this is the best situation for me by the time I get to where I need to go, then I will. But if I don’t think it’s the best, I won’t.

Others were firmer in their belief in the traditional high school-to-college route, such as Kentucky’s current class of 2023 hires Justin Edwards.

“Overtime came, but I just wanted to choose college. I wanted to go to college,” Edwards said. “I can get more out of it, I feel like I can prepare more (for college).”

While the G-League Ignite and Overtime Elite pathways offer young players the chance to earn money ahead of their potential NBA career, college basketball is now doing the same through NIL opportunities.

This was underlined by Class of 2024 point guard and British rookie Boogie Fland.

“I think now that we have NIL, we can still pursue our dream in college,” Fland said. “Everyone dreams of going to university, I’m pretty sure. They dream of being a top basketball player, of going to a big college, so I feel like college gives that edge now because you can still achieve that dream you had when you were a kid.

Johnuel “Boogie” Fland poses for a portrait on the basketball court at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, NY Fland told the Herald-Leader that the name, image and likeness of monetary opportunities at college have leveled the playing field against alternative basketball avenues like the G-League Ignite and Overtime Elite. Robert Bumsted PA

Prior to his second season, most OTE players opted out of maintaining NCAA eligibility and instead received a salary.

According to OTE, every player under contract is offered a six-figure salary, with a guaranteed minimum salary of at least $100,000, in addition to other benefits.

Of OTE’s 30 players for the 2022-23 season, only 10 are giving up salary (like Cunningham) to remain college eligible.

All of these players will be in their first season with Overtime Elite.

“The product on the pitch opens up those options,” Cunningham’s father, Erik, previously told the Herald-Leader. “I don’t want (Naasir) to think about the next $10,000 or anything. I want him to think about the next jump, the next free throw.

So far in this current college basketball recruiting period, Kentucky has visited two Class of 2024 players at Overtime Elite: Cunningham and small forward Jahki Howard.

Jazian Gortman Overtime Elite
Jazian Gortman took part in a match between Team Overtime and Team Elite at Atlanta’s OTE Arena last year. Kyle Hess/Elite in overtime

Cameron Drummond works as a sports reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader with a focus on Kentucky men’s basketball recruiting and the UK men’s basketball team, horse racing, football and others sports in central Kentucky. Drummond is a first-generation American who was born and raised in Texas, before graduating from Indiana University. He is fluent in Spanish and previously worked as a community journalist in Austin, Texas.

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