Overtime Elite announces 2021-22 schedule, roster for inaugural season

Overtime Elite will begin its inaugural season on Oct. 29. courtesy of Overtime Elite

Overtime Elite unveiled its complete game schedule and three rosters for its inaugural season, which tips off Oct. 29.

As part of the schedule, OTE's group of 16-to-20-year-olds, including several four- and five-star recruits and top international prospects, will be split into three teams and compete against prep and postgraduate opponents including Sunrise Christian Academy (postgrad), Dream City Christian (postgrad), Hillcrest Prep, Putnam Science Academy, the Vertical Academy program featuring five-star Mikey Williams, and others. Most games will be played at Overtime's new facility in Atlanta, but will also include travel to events in North Carolina, Arizona, Ohio and Florida.

OTE will face Dr. Phillips (Florida), Vertical Academy (North Carolina) and Calvary Christian's KT Kings team (Florida) as part of the GA Prep Series on Oct. 29. The games can be streamed on a delayed basis via Overtime's YouTube channel, OTE officials told ESPN.

In addition to competition against other institutions, Overtime Elite's three teams will play each other as part of the OTE League Series, with wins counting towards league standings and eventually leading to the OTE playoffs in late March. OTE League Series wins will count for two points towards the standings, while wins over prep/postgrad teams will count for one point. Teams can also receive points for winning "takeovers," a series of team challenges that include one-on-one competitions, dunk contests and 3-point shootouts.

Restrictions imposed by high school state federations and entities such as Geico Nationals and the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference prevent most high school teams from scheduling OTE, which features players of professional status -- many of whom have already graduated high school. The OTE League Series games are expected to be the most competitive action and most useful for NBA evaluation purposes. OTE officials told ESPN this season's setup is OTE's intended business model, but said it expects to expand by several more OTE teams in the coming years.

"The most exciting part of our schedule is going to be playing each other, getting under the lights in our building," Brandon Williams, head of basketball operations for Overtime Elite, told ESPN. "We're not hung up on specific teams right now. The reality is there just aren't many teams that will look like us. That's the real challenge in scheduling."

OTE has invited NBA teams to attend a pro day on Oct. 23rd in Atlanta, but sources told ESPN the event has yet to be certified due to an interpretation of NBA no-contact rules prohibiting teams from contact with draft-ineligible players, outside of a handful of approved settings which include official games, select college practices and international practices involving only international players.

The league is still determining how to classify OTE, sources say, which features a combination of U.S. and international prospects who are both draft-eligible in 2022 and two or three years from being draft-eligible. The league is expected to provide clarity to NBA teams in the next week or so with guidelines for evaluating OTE players.

"The NBA wants to know what they are saying yes to, and make sure all 30 teams have the same level of access and information," Williams said. "I haven't gotten the feeling that they don't want to or won't allow scouts in."

R.J. Hampton and LaMelo Ball were similarly caught in a gray area two years ago when both opted to play overseas, but their situations were eventually resolved. The NBA has certified scouts to attend G League Ignite practices, which also feature a blend of draft-eligible and draft-ineligible prospects, starting tomorrow.

"We would love to [schedule] the G League Ignite and the NBA Academies," Williams told ESPN. "We're working to schedule games internationally in the spring after our season is over, to create an elevated experience for our guys. ... Once high school seasons are over, there will be opportunities to do more things in terms of club seasons and travel basketball."

OTE has seven players on its roster who are eligible to be selected in the 2022 NBA draft, including potential lottery pick Jean Montero, the No. 14 prospect in ESPN's NBA draft top 100.

High school graduates Dominick Barlow, Jai Smith, Kok Yat, Emmanuel Maldonado and Davion Mace also satisfy both the age and high school class requirements to be draft-eligible, and are expected to be available to be selected next June. Non-international players who have signed a contract with a non-NBA professional team are eligible to be drafted, per the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.

OTE's teams will be coached on the floor by Dave Leitao, formerly the head coach at DePaul and Virginia; Ryan Gomes, a former eight-year NBA veteran as a player and G League assistant; and Tim Fanning, previously an assistant coach with Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Euroleague. All three teams will be overseen by head coach and director of player development Kevin Ollie, an NBA journeyman as a player who won a national championship as the head coach of UConn.

Current rosters for the three OTE teams are as follows:

Team Gomes: Jean Montero, Jazian Gortman, Malik Bowman, Dominick Barlow, Alexandre Sarr, Tudor Somacescu, Lewis Duarte, Nathan Missia-Dio, Jai Smith

Team Leitao: Bryce Griggs, Bryson Warren, Ausar Thompson, Ryan Bewley, Jalen Lewis, Emmanuel Maldonado, Jaylen Martin, Davion Mace, Jahzare Jackson

Team Fanning: Amen Thompson, De'Vontes Cobbs, Kok Yat, Tyler Smith, Matt Bewley, Johned Walker, T.J. Clark, Lebron Lopez, Izan Almansa

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and international teams.