Overtime Elite

And-Ones: Jefferson, Somacescu, Musa, FAs By Position

Veteran power forward Amile Jefferson, who appeared in 30 games for the Magic between 2018-20 and was in camp with the Celtics last December, has returned to his alma mater and will be part of the Duke staff going forward. The Blue Devils announced today in a press release that Jefferson has been named the director of player development for the men’s basketball team.

“This is an honor to be back at Duke and I’m so grateful to Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski for considering me for this opportunity,” Jefferson said in a statement. “I’d also like to thank Coach (Jon) Scheyer for his help through the process and look forward to his leadership in the future. Duke has been a part of my story and my life and it’s a privilege to give back to the program and the University that has meant so much. I can’t wait to work with these guys — helping them develop, grow and learn — and be a small part of something bigger than myself.”

In addition to playing in the NBA and the G League since going pro in 2017, Jefferson – who won a title with Duke in ’15 – has spent some time overseas, playing for Turkish team Galatasaray in 2020/21. It’s unclear if the 28-year-old will look to resume his playing career at some point or if he’s prepared to transition to coaching full-time.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Up-and-coming Romanian-born point guard Tudor Somacescu, who turned 16 in June, became the 12th player to sign with the Overtime Elite league, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN writes. Somacescu is the youngest player to sign with Overtime Elite to date, per Givony.
  • Dzanan Musa, a first-round pick in 2018, has joined Spanish team CB Breogan, according to agent Misko Raznatovic. Musa appeared in 49 across two seasons with Brooklyn before being traded to Detroit last November. The Pistons waived him a month later and he spent most of the 2020/21 season with Anadolu Efes.
  • Point guard looks like the strongest position in this year’s free agent class, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who writes that as many as 10 starting-caliber players could be available on the open market. Based on Hollinger’s system, Dennis Schröder barely cracks the top-10 list of free agent point guards, while Derrick Rose comes in at No. 11.
  • In two more stories for The Athletic, Hollinger also previewed this year’s crop of free agent shooting guards and small forwards. There are no elite shooting guards available, but the class includes several reliable rotation options. At small forward, despite his injury, Kawhi Leonard easily headlines a group that doesn’t include a ton of surefire starters.

Top HS Junior Jalen Lewis Signing With Overtime Elite

High school junior Jalen Lewis, who had been considered one of the top prospects in the recruiting class of 2023, is signing with the new Overtime Elite league, according to reports from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Lewis had been receiving interest from Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, and Michigan, among other top college programs, per Givony. However, the 16-year-old will instead become the youngest prospect ever to turn pro in America, according to Charania, who hears from sources that Lewis’ multiyear deal will be worth more than $1MM.

A 6’8″ center and a five-star recruit, Lewis ranked as the No. 2 prospect on ESPN’s big board for the recruiting class of 2023.

“I’d describe Jalen as an absolute difference maker, a rare talent, with a combination of size, athleticism, good hands and ball skills that impact plays on both ends of the court,” Overtime Elite head coach Kevin Ollie said, per Givony. “There are no limitations to what he’ll be able to do in his career and through Overtime Elite, he’ll have the resources in place to help him reach his dreams.”

Overtime Elite, which will begin its first season later this year, is aiming to become a viable option for top high school and international prospects. It has secured commitments from 10 players so far.

And-Ones: Australian Olympic Team, James, Missia-Dio, Spurs

Numerous current NBA players were named to the Australian national team’s final 12-man roster for the Olympics, ESPN’s Olgun Uluc tweets. The team is headlined by Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, Matisse Thybulle, Dante Exum and Josh Green.

Projected lottery pick Josh Giddey is not on the 12-man roster but has been named as one of three replacement players, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Giddey will travel to Las Vegas for Australia’s exhibition games, Givony adds. He’s currently rated No. 9 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • LeBron James passed on the Olympics this year and it’s unlikely he’ll play for Team USA again, managing director Jerry Colangelo said on ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill and Zubin radio show (video link). “LeBron made choices these last couple of Olympics not to participate because he’s got a lot of things going on in his life,” Colangelo said. “So he put in his time, he made a contribution that is appreciated, but I think his time is over.” James’ last Olympic appearance came during the 2012 London Games.
  • Belgian forward Nathan Missia-Dio became the ninth player to sign with Overtime Elite, according to a league press release. The new development league will begin play in September. Missia-Dio, a 6’6” forward, played two seasons for Espoirs Limoges in France’s Elite U21 League. He is ranked 13th by Eurospects.com among international prospects born in 2004.
  • The Spurs are seeking a new naming-rights sponsor for their arena, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. Longtime sponsor AT&T won’t renew its current deal, which expires in the fall of 2022. AT&T has also sold off its 7.23% share of the team. Front Office Sports first reported the news.

And-Ones: Hervey, College Alternatives, Stone, Grant

Forward Kevin Hervey, the Thunder’s second-round pick in 2018, is in advanced talks with Virtus Bologna, Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas tweets. Hervey appeared in 10 games with the Thunder during the 2019/20 season. He played for Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia last season.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • The creation of Overtime Elite, the G League’s Ignite and the Professional Collegiate League, along with international options, has expanded the choices of prospects beyond playing college ball. The New York Times’ David Gardner takes a closer look at the impact and complications those additional options are having on teenager basketball standouts.
  • Former NBA forward Diamond Stone has signed with Mets de Guaynabo in the Puerto Rican league, according to Sportando. Stone was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft but only appeared in seven games with the Clippers in his rookie campaign.
  • Former NBA guard Jerian Grant has officially signed a two-year deal with Italy’s Olimpia Milano, according to Sportando. Olimpia Milano’s interest in Grant was previously reported. Grant played in the Greek League this past season after being waived by the Rockets during training camp in December.

French Forward Sarr Joins Overtime Elite

Overtime Elite has signed its first European player, French forward Alexandre Sarr, according to a team press release.

The 16-year-old Sarr played for the Real Madrid franchise last season and is ranked No. 9 by Eurospects.com for international prospects born in 2005. His older brother, Olivier, played at Wake Forest and Kentucky.

The Overtime Elite league serves as an alternative pathway for players to turn pro.

“Alexandre is a skilled and versatile athlete, a natural shot blocker, and a rebounder on both ends of the floor,” said Kevin Ollie, Overtime Elite’s head coach. “We look forward to experiencing rapid development every day once we can work with Alexandre in the gym.”

The 6’10” Sarr is the eighth player to join the new league. Point guard Jean Montero from the Dominican Republic was the first international player to sign with the league. Amen Thompson, Ausar Thompson, Matt Bewle, Ryan Bewley, Emmanuel Maldonado and Jai Smith have also made commitments.

Every player will earn a six-figure salary, with a guaranteed minimum salary of $100K, plus bonuses and shares of equity in Overtime.

And-Ones: Wembanyama, CBA, NBA Ball, Cotton

Potential 2023 No. 1 draft pick Victor Wembanyama is leaving his French team Nanterre, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. The 7’2” Wembanyama has been recruited by the G League’s Ignite team and Overtime Elite, along with many pro teams around the globe, but the 17-year-old’s destination remains a mystery.

We have more news from the basketball world:

  • The Chinese Basketball Association could start its season without foreign players, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia relays. Part or all of the CBA season could be be played without foreigners, according to a Chinese journalist, as a cost-cutting measure.
  • The NBA and Wilson will unveil at the draft combine later this month the new ball that will be used next season in league games, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Wilson Sporting Goods Co. has entered a multi-year partnership with the NBA, which has used a Spalding ball for 37 seasons.
  • Former NBA player Bryce Cotton was chosen as the NBL Most Valuable Player for the third time, according to a press release from the Australian league.  Cotton averaged 23.5 PPG and 5.6 APG for the Perth Wildcats. Cotton played for Phoenix and Memphis during the 2015/16 season.

And-Ones: Maldonado, Holmgren, Banchero, Fieldhouse

Team Dynasty Academy guard Emmanuel Maldonado has decided to sign with the Overtime Elite League, he announced on social media.

Maldonado, who stands at 6’4″, is the sixth player to sign with the league thus far, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). He’s also a candidate to represent Puerto Rico at the FIBA U19 World Cup in July.

The Overtime Elite league serves as an alternative pathway for players to turn pro. Top recruits Matt and Ryan Bewley became the first prospects to commit to the league last month, as we relayed in a separate story.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Top 2022 prospect Chet Holmgren has been named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, ESPN’s Myron Medcalf writes. Holmgren, a Gonzaga commit, averaged 20.8 points, 12.6 rebounds and 4.7 blocks last season for Minnehaha Academy. As Medcalf notes, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and several other high-profile players have won the award in the past.
  • Paolo Banchero is unable to join Italy for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament this summer, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter links). Banchero, a Duke prospect, will reportedly miss the tournament due to school-related issues despite receiving his passport.
  • Renovations are ongoing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Pacers and the WNBA’s Fever, Scott Agness of FieldhouseFiles tweets. As a result, the Fever will be forced to play the remainder of their season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum — the original home of the ABA Pacers.

Jean Montero Becomes First International Prospect To Join Overtime Elite

Jean Montero, a 17-year-old point guard from the Dominican Republic, is signing with Overtime Elite, becoming the first international player to join the new basketball league for top high school prospects, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

As Givony explains, Montero – the No. 17 prospect on ESPN’s big board for the 2022 NBA draft – remains under contract with Gran Canaria, so he’ll be on loan from the Spanish team.

Montero, who debuted with the Dominican Republic’s senior national team last fall, played a little for Gran Canaria’s parent club in the EuroCup and ACB during the 2020/21 season. However, he saw more action for Gran Canaria II in Spain’s third division, averaging 18.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.4 APG, and 2.5 SPG in 24 games (29 MPG) for the team, per Givony.

In addition to being the first international prospect to commit to Overtime Elite, Montero is also the first non-twin to sign with the league. Previously, OTE secured commitments from two sets of twins — Matt and Ryan Bewley and Amen and Ausar Thompson.

We shared more details on the new Overtime Elite league in a pair of stories earlier this year.

And-Ones: Wiggins, Canada, Overtime Elite, Yabusele, More

It has been several years since Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins represented Team Canada in an international competition, but it appears that’s about to change. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets, Wiggins posted a message on Instagram strongly suggesting that he’ll suit up for Canada when the team competes in the Olympic qualifiers this summer.

Eight of the 12 teams that will compete in the men’s basketball event at the Tokyo Olympics have clinched their spots, including Team USA. Twenty-four countries will compete in four separate tournaments from June 29 to July 4 for the final four Olympic berths. In order to qualify for the Tokyo games, Canada will have to top Greece, China, Uruguay, Turkey, and the Czech Republic.

While it certainly won’t be a cakewalk, Canada will benefit from home-court advantage – the tournament will take place in Victoria, British Columbia – and could deploy a roster featuring far more NBA players than their opponents. Wiggins, who averaged 18.6 points per game in 71 contests for Golden State this season, would be a key addition.

“I don’t think there’s any question about what he can bring,” Canada Basketball general manager Rowan Barrett said, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. “The versatility he has at 6’8″ with a tremendous wingspan and with the focus he has on defense now will help us. And as an offensive player, it’s clear. He’s got a career average of 20 points a game in the NBA. Clearly he can score the ball.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The Overtime Elite league has secured two more commitments from top high school prospects, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Florida twins Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson are signing two-year contracts with OTE. The Thompson twins rank 22nd and 23rd in ESPN’s list of top class-of-2022 recruits. Overtime’s first two commits were twin brothers Matt Bewley and Ryan Bewley.
  • Speaking of high school basketball, Jeff Borzello and Paul Biancardi of ESPN report that several of the nation’s biggest high school powerhouses are forming an elite national league called the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference in advance of the 2021/22 season. Six programs – including Oak Hill, Montverde, and IMG Academy – have committed so far to the eight-team league that will feature a 10-game regular season and a postseason tournament, per ESPN’s duo.
  • Former Celtics first-round pick Guerschon Yabusele is in advanced talks with Real Madrid, reports Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas (via Twitter). If Yabusele doesn’t feel he has an NBA opportunity lined up, he’ll likely sign with Real Madrid, Urbonas adds.

Scoot Henderson To Play For G League Ignite

Another top high school prospect has committed to the G League Ignite, as five-star recruit Scoot Henderson announced today that he’ll reclassify from the class of 2022 to the class of 2021 and will join the NBAGL’s developmental team, writes Adam Zagoria of Forbes. The G League has confirmed Henderson’s commitment.

Henderson is a 6’3″ point guard who attended Kell High School in Marietta, Georgia. He had been ranked by ESPN as the No. 7 overall prospect in the 2022 recruiting class.

According to Zagoria, Henderson decided to go the G League route rather than attending a college such as Auburn or Georgia. He also received an offer from the Overtime Elite league.

“You know how every kid has their own path?” Henderson told Jonathan Abrams of The New York Times. “My main goal was just to get to the NBA and be there for a very long time. The fact that I have an opportunity to go there and I’m one step away from it, it’s just huge. And I took that opportunity.”

Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links), who says the 17-year-old is believed to be the youngest professional player in American basketball history, hears from sources that Henderson’s G League deal will be worth $1MM — the contract will cover two years, since Henderson still won’t be draft-eligible until 2023.

Henderson will join an Ignite squad that has also received commitments from guard Jalen Hardy, forward Michael Foster Jr., and China’s top prospect, center Fanbo Zeng.