Oakland, CA

Oakland's Jalen Lewis will become the youngest professional basketball player in American history

Built in the Bay

(Anthony Au-Yeung / Getty Images)

By Ian Firstenberg

(OAKLAND, Calif.) Jalen Lewis, the 16-year-old prep basketball prospect, will forgo two years of high school to play professional basketball in Atlanta's Overtime Elite league.

Lewis, a 6'8", 215-pound big man rated five stars by 247Sports, reportedly signed a contract with Overtime Elite worth more than $1 million over multiple years. Lewis would be the youngest professional player in American history.

Overtime Elites expects to start games in September of this year.

Lewis' teammate is Cal-bound Marsalis Roberson and the pair led O'Dowd to the NorCal Open Division Finals prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overtime Elite has been aiming to bring Lewis to their league since at least early spring. His former coach, Lou Richie, was trying to convince him to stay for his diploma. Part of Richie's persuasive package was exclusive media access.

Lewis is the third player Overtime Elite has signed from the Class of 2023 along with Matt and Ryan Bewley, two five-star twins from Florida who reportedly signed a deal worth $500,000 yearly.

Former men's coach at Connecticut Kevin Ollie is the director of player development and the head coach.

All OTE players are guaranteed a contract worth at least $100,000 and full health care coverage, according to league officials. Additionally, players are also provided insurance in case of injury and $100,000 towards tuition if they choose to leave the league.

The league includes a teaching setting in which players will attend classes in small groups or one-on-one instruction. According to league officials it will "supplement a traditional course offering with a focus on life skills including financial literacy, media training and advocacy and sports and business of basketball."

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