After two impressive years at Gill St. Bernard’s, five-star Naas Cunningham is leaving the high school ranks to play in the Overtime Elite professional basketball league.
Cunningham, the No. 1 nationally ranked player in the Class of 2024, is set to be the first player in the league to bypass a salary while maintaining his college eligibility. The news was first reported by ESPN this morning.
Watch Highlights Naas Cunningham’s Sophomore Season
“This is best place for me to develop as a player, while getting the right education to fall back on at the same time,” Cunningham told ESPN’s Jonathon Givony. “Overtime built a relationship with my family and I, which was a big factor in trusting them with my future. I want to be the best basketball player I can, a NBA draft lottery pick and hopefully one of the best in the league. Overtime is going to put me in position to become the best player I can.”
This move is a first-of-its-kind for high school players. Since Overtime Elite began in 2021, players in the league were taking six-figure salaries and forgoing any college eligibility to play professional basketball with players their age. But, Cunningham will be able to complete his high school education while having no negative impact on his eligibility to play college basketball when that time arrives. He holds over a dozen offers from the elite college hoops programs in the country.
Cunningham had a productive sophomore season with Gill St. Bernard’s, who went 20-7 and won the Somerset County Tournament. The 6-7 wing averaged 13.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and was named to JSZ’s All-Zone team.