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5-Star PF Tyler Smith Skips College, Signs '7-Figure' Overtime Elite Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 23, 2021

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tyler Smith joined the growing number of elite prep players to sign with Overtime Elite.

"This is different and new," he said to ESPN's Jonathan Givony. "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."

Tyler Smith @tksmith1104

New beginnings <a href="https://twitter.com/overtime?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@overtime</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/FamFirstSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FamFirstSports</a> <a href="https://t.co/Y37kmWmQC9">pic.twitter.com/Y37kmWmQC9</a>

Smith is the No. 15 player in 247Sports' composite rankings for the 2023 class. The 6'10" power forward also ranks third at his position.

The Richmond, Texas, native didn't provide specifics as to his deal with Overtime Elite but said it will run for two years and hit seven figures. 

Smith went on to tell Givony the idea of spending a season in college basketball wasn't all that attractive.

"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."

Fifteen players have already signed with OTE. Jalen Lewis, Ausar Thompson, Amen Thompson and Jazian Gortman are among the headliners.

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The organization is attempting to set up a viable alternative to college basketball for young players with NBA aspirations.

Smith's contract is evidence of how OTE is willing to spend big early on to attract the country's top talent. Overtime Elite says players are guaranteed at least $100,000 annually from their base contract. They have the ability to earn more from their name, image and likeness as well.

The NCAA has allowed athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness as well, but it's not hard to see why Smith opted for OTE if he stands to earn seven figures before he's draft-eligible.

And evaluators don't appear to be too concerned with how an aspiring prospect gets to the Association as long as the potential is evident.

Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga were top-10 picks, and Isaiah Todd was selected 31st after spending the 2020-21 season with the NBA G League Ignite. LaMelo Ball's stock didn't take much of a hit due to his winding path to the NBA, either.

But OTE remains unproven in terms of developing players and preparing them for the next level. As much as this news represents Overtime Elite betting on Smith, Smith is making a big bet on Overtime Elite.

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