The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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April 21, 2024

Overtime Elite: A new wave of professional basketball

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⁤Unlike traditional basketball leagues, OTE started with the support of fans rather than the athletes on the court. ⁤⁤

In the ever-changing landscape of professional sports, an innovative sports league has emerged, setting a new standard for the development and promotion of young basketball talent. Overtime Elite (OTE) is a new professional basketball league involving a new twist never seen before in sports. The league, composed of high school and college-age athletes, presents players with two options: Take a scholarship to continue their academic careers and keep their college eligibility or accept a salary of at least $100,000 per year to play professionally.  

The origins of OTE go back to its parent company, Overtime Sports Inc. Overtime originated as a social media account geared towards Gen Z and gained popularity in 2016 by making short-form Instagram content on future NBA stars like Trae Young and Zion Williamson. Overtime soon started making docuseries on different athletes and held high school basketball and football events for top prospects in the draft. Dan Porter, Co-Founder and CEO of Overtime, then had the idea to create a league of his own.

Overtime launched OTE in 2021 and has rapidly gained success over the past three years. What was once just three breakoff teams is now an eight-team league competing for the OTE Championship. The league has already produced some great talent: Twins Amen and Ausar Thompson — picked fourth and fifth overall in last year’s NBA Draft — and University of Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham, a projected top 10 pick for next year’s draft.

 

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⁤Unlike traditional basketball leagues, OTE started with the support of fans rather than the athletes on the court. ⁤⁤The league has focused on understanding and prioritizing its fans’ desires through interactive elements, such as a strong social media presence that aims to get to know the players. ⁤⁤The spectator-centered approach spurred massive fan engagement in OTE early on and has fueled the league’s rapid rise to popularity. OTE is meant to act as a complementary force to professional sports, partnering with college basketball and the NBA to supply experience and training to up-and-coming players, Porter said in an interview with Draft Digest.

The typical route for American players going pro is playing in high school, getting recruited for college and then getting drafted to the NBA. OTE streamlines the process by giving high school basketball players an opportunity that no league has ever had: The option to play professionally as a high schooler. Leagues in Europe have provided this type of player development for years, with talents like Luka Dončić and Giannis Antetokounmpo playing professionally overseas during high school before dominating in the NBA. OTE teams have professional-level schedules and offer training and coaching that no high school team can match.

OTE player Adam Oumiddoch mentioned how beneficial the OTE’s facilities are, having recently transferred to OTE from Bishop O’Connell, currently the 24th-ranked U.S. high school basketball team.

“The schedule is certainly a pro schedule, and it is a professional environment and gets me ready for the next level,” Oummidoch said. “I love the route that I took and it’s only going to get amazing from here.” 

Stationed in Atlanta, OTE has state-of-the-art facilities and large practice gyms. In addition, Oumiddoch highlighted the top-of-the-line care from professional recovery experts as a major plus.

 “Coaches, teachers, even the recovery people all have been doing this for years and know what’s best for me,” Oumiddoch said.

OTE doesn’t neglect academics for players who continue their education; the 4:1 student-teacher ratio strives to maximize learning potential. Student-athletes participate in three to four-hour learning days, which attempts to put them on track for an on-time high school graduation. Additionally, each student-athlete has an academic mentor they check in with weekly to set goals and receive support outside the classroom.

For young athletes across the country, OTE has put a new spin on high school basketball and opened up many opportunities. After producing top college and NBA talents, OTE is gaining more traction. 

“I think our secret sauce is that in everything we do, it’s holding up a mirror back to [the fans] and saying we see you and you’re our partner in this,” Porter told Draft Digest.

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