Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Naasir Cunningham and the min-maxing of reality

Naasir Cunningham is the #1 rated basketball prospect for the class of 2024 (in other words, he graduates from high school in two years). 

Here's what he just did: 
Naasir Cunningham, the No. 1 basketball prospect in ESPN's Class of 2024, is signing with Overtime Elite (OTE), he told ESPN on Monday.

...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 from high school. He will still be eligible to make money off his name, image and likeness in high school, providing him with additional earning potential over the next two years without jeopardizing his amateur status.

That seems brilliant to me. The elite players at the high school level should be able to sign NIL deals as well, and if their state athletic association doesn't allow it, then just sign with OTE, don't take a salary, and make all the money you want for the next two years. The NCAA can't strip your eligibility for doing that, and if they tried, they'd lose in court.

Then, if you want to go play in college, go play in college. 

This kid could have any injury at any point in the next two years that would significantly decrease his attractiveness to recruiters (remember Hoop Dreams?). This way, he makes some money while he's considered elite, instead of having to wait. 

You have to make bank while the bank is open.

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