With the Overtime Elite basketball program formed to allure top high school basketball talent with the promise of salaries and myriad other benefits, the winds of elite high school basketball are continuing to change. Now another showcase league is forming to offer opportunities to top prospects who want to keep their collegiate eligibility in tact.
A group of high school basketball powerhouses that feature some of the game's top prospects on their rosters are forming a league called the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) that features a 10-game regular season and a postseason tournament, ESPN reported Monday. Among the teams that will compete in the NIBC are Oak Hill Academy (Virginia), Montverde Academy (Florida), La Lumiere School (Indiana), Sunrise Christian Academy (Kansas) Wasatch Academy (Utah) and IMG Academy (Florida).
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Collectively, those six programs have 15 of the top-100 players from the Class of 2022 on their rosters, according to the 247Sports Composite. Among the most notable from the group are four top-10 prospects, including No. 2 overall prospect Jalen Duran, who plays for Montverde Academy.
By playing for a top high school program that competes in the NIBC, prospects will get national exposure and the opportunity to match up with top competition in games that are sure to draw college and NBA scouting attention. While the NIBC won't offer players monetary compensation, it will allow them to develop on a big stage while retaining the option of playing in college.
By contrast, players who join Overtime Elite -- such as twin brothers Matt and Ryan Bewley from the Class of 2023 -- won't be eligible to play college basketball upon graduating high school. Similarly, Class of 2022 star Scoota Henderson is on track to spend two years in the G League Ignite program and won't be allow to change course after one season with Ignite and decide to play college basketball.
With the NCAA navigating rules changes that will allow athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness, playing college basketball could become an attractive option in the coming years for players interested in cashing paychecks before reaching the professional ranks. However, that will only be an option for those who haven't turned professional yet, and the creation of the NIBC should be a good way to make remaining an amateur an attractive choice for some of the top young stars.