Tyler Smith, the nation’s No. 8 overall recruit in the Class of 2023 and Bush High School sophomore, is headed to the Overtime Elite.
“This is different and new,” Smith told ESPN. “I wanted to be a pro already, working on stuff that NBA players work on. In high school, you can’t work out as much as they do at OTE.”
Smith, who turns 17 in November, is the seventh prospect to join the upstart basketball league for high school prospects looking to earn money and forgo playing college ball. In choosing Overtime Elite, Smith turned down scholarships from Texas, Baylor, Memphis, LSU and a host of others.
“OTE is thrilled to welcome Tyler to our family and are proud to now be a part of his journey,” OTE EVP and Head of Basketball Operations Brandon Williams said. “Tyler is a versatile talent that exhibits an on-court confidence that stems from a combination of skill, length, athleticism and competitive intangibles. But what impressed us most is his demonstrated work ethic, and commitment to offensive and defensive development and the desire to be great. He is going to be a great culture fit for what we’re building.”
Each OTE player will earn a six-figure salary with a guaranteed minimum salary of $100,000 per year, plus bonuses and shares of equity in Overtime.
“My goal wasn’t to play college,” Smith said. “It’s to play in the NBA. This will get me there faster and make me more ready once I’m there. I’ve been talking to them for three months already. They’ve been telling me they have NBA facilities, trainers and nutritionists from NBA teams.”
The 6’9″ power forward was born in New Orleans but he and his family relocated to Houston due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He wowed scouts and developed into one of the nation’s top prospects after middle school, earning a scholarship from the Houston Cougars when he was 14 years old. Smith wouldn’t be eligible for the 2023 NBA Draft unless he graduated from high school a year early.
Smith is the 16th player to join OTE. He joins other top prospects in Jalen Lewis from California, Jazian Gortman from South Carolina, Amen and Ausar Thompson from Florida, Matt Bewley and Ryan Bewley from Florida, Bryce Griggs from Houston and Jai Smith from North Carolina.
OTE has signed international prospects Jean Montero from the Dominican Republic, Izan Almansa from Spain, Alexandre Sarr from France, Nathan Missia-Dio from Belgium, Emmanuel Maldonado from Puerto Rico, Francis Lopez from the Philippines and Tudor Somacescu from Romania. The league expects to make additional player announcements in the coming weeks to round out the class of 2022.