Illinois Basketball: ZZ Clark signing on with Overtime Elite

Backlit photos of the first class of student athletes line one of the entry hallways at Overtime Elite Academy.News Overtime Elite Academy
Backlit photos of the first class of student athletes line one of the entry hallways at Overtime Elite Academy.News Overtime Elite Academy /

An Illinois basketball commit is taking his talents to one of the up-and-coming basketball organizations.

Overtime Elite (OTE) is a basketball organization that is set out to fix three things that are missing for basketball players in the game today. Those three things are player development, education, and economic empowerment, according to their website.

OTE is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and it houses 27 of the top high school juniors, seniors, and some post-graduate players from across the world. This is a way for high school players to get noticed and develop their skills for the next level.

That is probably why Illini commit, ZZ Clark, decided to enter the program. On Wednesday, Dan McDonald of Rivals broke the news that Clark would be joining OTE. Clark is going to be a junior here shortly, and the OTE will help get him prepared for life after high school basketball.

What does this mean for ZZ Clark and Illinois basketball?

Well, usually players who decide to head to OTE will make a solid living. They are guaranteed a minimum salary of $100,000, and that doesn’t include the bonuses and shares of equity in the parent company, Overtime, according to an article by David Suggs of Sporting News.

If that would have been the case with Clark, he wouldn’t have been able to keep his college eligibility. But McDonald is reporting that Clark is keeping his scholarship, which means he has declined the salary offered by OTE.

This doesn’t come as a surprise, though. The No. 1 player in the class of 2024, Naas Cunningham, has also committed to playing for OTE. He also decided to forgo the salary to save his eligibility for college.

Honestly, I don’t mind this decision by Clark to better develop his skills. For the final two years of his high school career, he can hone his talents in Atlanta and then unleash his skills at Illinois for the 2024-25 campaign.

I also believe that OTE only takes the elite of the elite for their program, so having Clark sign on with OTE means he is one of the best players in the country, despite not being rated by 247Sports just yet.

Competing against other top players in every game will be exciting for Clark’s development as well. There are a lot of cupcake games at the high school level, so potentially going up against a player like Cunningham, who is the top player in the 2024 class, will only make Clark better.

I can’t wait to see how the next two years for Clark unfold. He is an extremely talented player, and he should be one of the top 60 recruits coming out of the class of 2024.

After a 5 spot move, Illini now rated as a top 15 program. dark. Next