Jalen Lewis, a five-star recruit and junior in high school, is signing a contract with the Overtime Elite professional league making him the youngest prospect in the U.S. to ever turn pro, The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported on Friday.
The contract is reportedly a multiyear deal worth more than $1 million. Lewis, 16, is a 6-foot-8, 215-pound center for Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland, California. He is ranked 12th overall in the Class of 2023 by the 247 Sports Composite ranking and sixth overall by Rivals150 Prospect rankings. ESPN has him at No. 2.
“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 and head of basketball operations, said in a release via ESPN. “This is a foundational signing for our league and another acknowledgment of the need and desire for our program.”
Lewis, born in 2005, had received offers from at least 12 schools including Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Michigan and UCLA.
What is Overtime Elite?
Overtime Elite, a league backed by sports media company Overtime, promises high school athletes at least $100,000 annually to play in the league and wants to bring in about 30 of the country’s best talents. They will also receive health and disability insurance. Those who don’t turn professional will have up to $100,000 of college tuition covered. The league was announced in March.
The one major drawback is players who sign with the league “forfeit their ability to play high school or college basketball,” per the report in the New York Times.
Overtime Elite plans to start in September with Kevin Ollie, the former UConn men’s coach, serving as the head coach and head of player development. The league has already started signing top high school talent in recent months. It has 10 players signed to contracts. They will play against prep schools and teams abroad.
Top prospects sign with new league
Matt and Ryan Bewley, twin brothers and both five-star juniors, signed two-year deals with the league in May. The deals were each worth $500,000 per year and made them the first prep underclassmen to sign contracts with an American basketball league.
Brothers Auser and Amen Thompson also signed two-year deals days later. It gives the Overtime Elite league three top prospects from the 2023 high school class as well as top international prospects in Jean Montero, Alexandre Sarr and Nathan Missia-Dio.
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