Top Class of 2024 college basketball recruit Naasir Cunningham is headed to Overtime Elite in Atlanta to focus his training on a future in the NBA, ESPN reported on Monday.
Cunningham plans to forgo a salary at the academy, which has investors including Kevin Durant, Trae Young and Jeff Bezos, to maintain college eligibility, per the report. The NCAA approved a “scholarship” option for the 16-to-18-year-old athletes in the program.
At 6-feet-7, Cunningham is a wing player with good shooting range and the highest-ranked prospect to sign with the burgeoning league. ESPN projections rate Cunningham as a future lottery pick.
Overtime Elite (OTE) includes academic programs and a focus on growing future professional athletes.
“This is best place for me to develop as a player, while getting the right education to fall back on at the same time,” Cunningham said in an ESPN interview. “Overtime built a relationship with my family and I, which was a big factor in trusting them with my future. I want to be the best basketball player I can, a NBA draft lottery pick and hopefully one of the best in the league. Overtime is going to put me in position to become the best player I can.”
Duke, Kansas, St. John’s, Michigan State, LSU, Maryland and several other programs have offered scholarships to Cunningham.
The New Jersey native has two years of high school remaining and is permitted to profit off of name, image and likeness agreements. Other top recruits, namely Mikey Williams and Bronny James, have tapped into NIL offerings that could be worth at least hundreds of thousands and potentially more than a million dollars.
“At Overtime you still get the same academics as a regular high school,” Cunningham said. “But not every school has the same equipment and facilities they do, which are top of the line, as well as the best trainers, coaching staff and other elite players. Competing against the best and working with the best there is, that’s what will help me reach my goals.”
–Field Level Media