New league for prep standouts sends 2 players to NBA combine

May 18, 2022, 12:07 PM | Updated: May 19, 2022, 12:11 am

Dominick Barlow participates in the NBA basketball draft combine Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Chicag...

Dominick Barlow participates in the NBA basketball draft combine Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Chicago. Barlow, one of the 76 prospects at the combine, didn't take the conventional route through the college ranks. Or the NBA's G League Ignite. Or playing overseas. He turned down college offers to receive on-the-job training through Overtime Elite, a new basketball league created to give high school players another path to the pros. He got paid -- a six-figure salary -- as he learned about nutrition, social-media skills, financial literacy and, of course, the art of basketball. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

They took a chance on each other: The teenage power forward from New Jersey on the start-up league. The start-up league on the young player with immense talent.

Dominick Barlow received on-the-job training — and a six-figure salary — to skip college and join Overtime Elite, a new basketball league created to give high school players another path to the pros. He learned about nutrition, social-media skills and financial literacy as he immersed himself in hoops.

He has parlayed his time with OTE into an invitation to the NBA draft combine this week in Chicago.

For the league, it demonstrates there’s room for yet another option beyond the conventional route through the college ranks, the NBA’s G League Ignite or playing overseas.

“This just shows how big this industry is,” said Jay Bilas, a basketball analyst for ESPN. “There’s not just one way to be successful and have a productive and long career.”

There were almost as many OTE players (Barlow and guard Jean Montero) invited to the combine as from Kansas, the NCAA champion (Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun, Jalen Wilson ).

Over the next few days, they will participate in games, drills and go through interviews. It’s a chance to possibly move up a team’s draft board. Montero and Barlow are both currently forecast as second-round picks (although, some mock drafts have Montero going late in the first ).

Coming out of high school, Barlow wasn’t a five-star recruit. He had suitors — DePaul, Illinois and Florida among them, according to Rivals.com — but elected to go with the league that guarantees at least $100,000, along with shares in the company (Overtime) and other revenue streams through sales of custom jerseys, trading cards, video games, and NFTs.

Barlow learned about nutrition and simple lessons like how to balance his plate after a heavy workout. He took a course on media training and on expanding his brand on social media. He also worked with the assistant coaches in practice sessions and was supervised by head coach Kevin Ollie, who guided Connecticut to a national title in 2014.

The 26 players who formed the inaugural OTE class were divided into three teams and played a full schedule against prep schools and each other. The 6-foot-9 Barlow was on Team Overtime, along with Montero, where he averaged 14.8 points. Barlow shot 58.5% from mid-range and 33.9% from 3-point land.

Oftentimes, in front of scouts. Throughout the year, more than 300 pro scouts passed through the complex.

“This put him in position probably much faster than anybody would have imagined,” said Brandon Williams, the head of basketball operations at OTE who had stops in the NBA with Golden State, San Antonio and Atlanta. “Much like a flower, you need the proper nutrients to blossom. That’s what we were able to do here.”

One major thing college basketball does have: Exposure. The television deals and the NCAA Tournament provide a powerful draw even for players who only plan to stick around for one season. There’s also burgeoning name, image and likeness opportunities.

“Most basketball fans have no idea who the G League players are until they get drafted. Same thing with Overtime Elite,” Bilas said. “The college players you know — Ja Morant or Zion Williamson or whoever. But you can really improve — improve your skill set and your game in the G league or Overtime Elite.”

Barlow is attempting to make an even bigger name for himself at the combine. Other players invited include Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Duke’s Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren — all of whom could be taken No. 1 overall by Orlando. Jaden Hardy is among several players from the NBA G League Ignite, a team based in the San Francisco area that’s dedicated to developing top young prospects.

“I do understand that going into the combine, there are some older guys who may be a little bit more physically developed than we are just because we’re so young,” said Barlow, who would be eligible to return to OTE if he’s not drafted. “But I think we’re some of the most talented young basketball players in the world.”

Barlow has helped set the foundation for what could be big things ahead. In next year’s NBA draft, OTE players such as twins Ausar and Amen Thompson are projected to be lottery picks.

“We don’t have the history of some of the blueblood schools,” Williams said. “We have to embrace that difference. There’s this revolutionary group that embraced it as well, that wants to play where it matters. They want to line up against the best talent. You get charged up when you know that you’ve got to fight.”


More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

New league for prep standouts sends 2 players to NBA combine