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History: Naasir Cunningham - The No. 1 Recruit In 2024 -Is Joining Overtime Elite, But Not Accepting A Salary So He Can Play College Ball In Two Years

[ESPN] - Cunningham is the highest-ranked recruit ever to sign with the upstart league and is considered a prospect with significant upside for the NBA ranks, standing 6-foot-7 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, impressive fluidity and dynamic perimeter shooting ability.

Cunningham will be the first player to forgo being paid a salary by OTE, which should preserve his eligibility to play college basketball after graduating high school. He will still be eligible to make money off his Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) in high school, providing him with additional earning potential over the next two years, without jeopardizing his amateur status.

Well, here's a brand new look at shit. Overtime Elite wrapped up their first season this past year where they were letting high school kids come play for them, get paid a salary and plan on likely going pro after. They had two projected top-10 picks for next year's draft. Now they are signing the No. 1 pick in 2024. 

But with a twist. He's not accepting a salary. It's why shit like Overtime Elite is going to work. He's basically on scholarship where he can still make money on NIL in high school yet keep his college eligibility alive. Obviously that's the important thing here for fans of college basketball. Could Cunningham just go right to the pros still? Sure. But he's keeping it open which is a win. 

It's why college basketball will never die. I know people loved talking about G League Ignite, Overtime Elite, etc as reasons college basketball is dying. People freaked out when 5-stars decided to go the G League route instead. We've lived that life before. It was before the one-and-done world when 5-stars went right to the pros. 

Here's what I truly like about Overtime Elite vs some other stuff. 

The venture initially offered players six-figure salaries, an educational component, state of the art facilities and considerable resources in terms of coaching, front office and support staffs as incentive to forgo their college eligibility. The organization will now also allow players a "scholarship" option and the ability to eschew a salary in order to not close the door on the NCAA route, which could be a game-changer for OTE's recruiting efforts.

You get the educational component while also getting to choose to accept a salary or not. To quote Cardale Jones, why not go to school for basketball? You're talking about likely pros - whether it's in the NBA or overseas - who want basketball to be their career. We go to school for accounting, marketing and everything else. This is just starting it earlier. 

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