Emerging basketball finest Jalen Lewis has made history by becoming the youngest player to sign a professional basketball contract in the United States, according to The Athletic. The 16-year-old has reportedly signed a $1 million multi-year deal with Overtime Elite (OTE).
“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,” said Brandon Williams, Overtime Elite executive vice president and head of basketball operations, in a statement. “This is a foundational signing for our league and another acknowledgment of the need and desire for our program.”
Lewis has been on the spotlight of basketball success with his astuteness on the court.
The rising junior is a top basketball recruit from Bishop O’Dowd High School in California. He has received recruiting interest from at least 12 schools, including Duke, Michigan, and UCLA. A 6-foot-9 center, Lewis is ranked by ESPN as No. 2 in the Class of 2021. He’s also listed as 12th overall by the 247 Sports Composite ranking.
Overtime Elite’s deal with Lewis was record-breaking. The young star’s multi-year deal with the Atlanta-based organization could be the beginning of new opportunities for high school students. So far, 10 players have already signed the dotted line. Jalen is the highest-ranked recruit to sign with the new pro league.
“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,” said Kevin Ollie, OTE coach and director of player development, in a release. “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.”