Monday, June 17, 2024

ESPN No. 7 prospect Thomas goes to Overtime Elite



Meleek Thomas, the No. 7 basketball prospect in ESPN’s Class of 2025, is leaving Lincoln Park Performing Arts High School in Pittsburgh to sign with Overtime Elite, he told ESPN on Tuesday.

“I did everything I needed to do where I’m from,” Thomas told ESPN. “We won back-to-back state championships. Now it’s time to be seen by NBA personnel, GMs, scouts, the people that you need to be in front of. At OTE they get your name out. Everything they do goes around the world. I want to be broadcasted more.”

Thomas is the highest-ranked recruit to join OTE so far this offseason. He’s in the midst of a strong spring, averaging 20.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 27 minutes per game for New Heights Lightning in the Nike EYBL. A 6’4 combo guard who plays with aggressiveness and tenacity on both ends of the court, Thomas can put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways from all over the floor.

He joins five-star recruits Bryson Tiller, Mikel Brown, Akai Fleming and Lincoln Cosby on the upstart league from Atlanta, as well as four-stars Tyler Jackson, Adam Oumiddoch and Amari Evans. The league will announce more signings in July for their fourth season of competition, which will again feature eight teams from around the country.

“Being a pro constantly is something I want to do,” Thomas said. “Getting in the weight room and going against top players daily with a fast-paced style of play will help me develop a winning mentality against the best. Everything I’m doing now will be turned up times 10. No one in the world will stop me.”

Founded in 2021, OTE sent twins Amen and Ausar Thompson to the NBA as top-five draft picks last year and will add several alumni to that list this June in potential No. 1 pick Alex Sarr, projected top-10 pick Rob Dillingham, and more.

Like Dillingham, who spent this past season at the University of Kentucky, Thomas will preserve his college eligibility by signing a scholarship agreement with OTE that allows him to profit from Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) opportunities while in high school.

Thomas says he’ll take official visits to UConn and Arkansas later this month. He’s also being heavily recruited by Kansas, Auburn, Pitt, Alabama, Kansas State, Indiana, Tennessee, Miami and others.

After scheduling his official visit to Connecticut starting next week (June 19), Thomas says he was initially caught off-guard by the news that Danny Hurley was being pursued to be the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“I didn’t expect that, it just popped up,” Thomas said. “He ended up turning it down, which must mean something. That definitely makes UConn more attractive now. With all the money he was offered, he’s still committed to the school he built up. Being highly recruited by him means they are serious. That’s the message I got.”

Jonathan Givony is an NBA Draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and International teams.



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