WBB – Overtime Select announced as new high school league

If you’re of a certain age, the idea of elite high school girls basketball might conjure up images of all-day AAU tournaments in gyms with padded-walls and no air conditioning, players sweating through cheap reversible jerseys in front of a sprinkling of parents sitting on hard, retractable risers using roster sheets to fan themselves. Needless to say, the stakes have gone up.

The best girls high school basketball players aren’t just earning thousands of likes on social for impressive crossovers and flashy dimes, they’re also signing NIL deals with major sponsors and playing in tournaments that draw sold out crowds and boast courtside superstars like UConn’s Paige Bueckers and LSU’s Angel Reese.

The game has changed, and a driver behind that change has been Overtime, a social media outlet and sports league disruptor. What started in 2016 as a social media company focused on short-form content featuring top high school athletes (NBA players Zion Williamson and Trae Young were early favorites for followers), has expanded into basketball, football and boxing leagues, as well as merchandise and a film division. Spotlighting elite young athletes in traditional spaces such as high school or AAU games inspired the company’s founders, Dan Porter and Zach Weiner, to create non-traditional spaces in which players could compete, promote themselves and build their brands.

The latest space is Overtime Select, a four-week league for elite high school girls basketball players taking place during the summer of 2024 at OTE Arena, Overtime’s 103,000 square-foot facility in Atlanta, Georgia. Top high school players that have already committed to Overtime Select include Aaliyah Chavez (No. 1 in the 2025 class), Jazzy Davidson (No. 2, 2025), Jenica Lewis (No. 23, 2026) and twin sisters Mia (No. 7, 2025) and Mya Pauldo (No. 24, 2025). They’ll join future signees to create eight teams to compete in a regular season, playoffs and finals, plus a “Takeover Weekend” featuring an All-Star game, “Queen of the Court” competition and Three-Point Contest.

Advisors were tabbed to identify needs in the girls basketball space, develop the league and mentor players. Collegiate and pro players Bueckers, the 2023 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart, Seimone Augustus (Los Angeles Sparks), Zia Cooke (South Carolina), Kahleah Copper (Chicago Sky), Flau’jae Johnson (LSU)and Haley Jones (Atlanta Dream), and WNBA agents and industry professionals Erin Kane, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Lauren Maillian, Pamela Neferkara and Todd Fischer have all signed on to advise the players.

“I’m excited to be part of something that is inspiring and empowering for the next generation of future stars,” Stewart told ESPN. “Overtime Select will give players more opportunities to compete against the best and learn what it takes to succeed at the next level.

“I would have loved this opportunity when I was in high school. As a mom, it is so important to me to show my family the importance of mentorship and supporting one another. Advising for Overtime Select and working with Overtime to grow the game and these youth athletes is a passion of mine and so necessary for the game.”

Stewart was among those consulted by Overtime as they worked to create an additive experience for girls high school basketball players.

“We spoke to everyone across the board, from agents, WNBA players, high school athletes, parents and grassroots consultants to understand what is missing in the system,” said Director of Overtime Select Sascha Malas. “How can we be disruptive but also additive? How can we continue to enhance their careers and their opportunities?”

In addition to facing top competition and grabbing the eyeballs of Overtime’s social audience, Overtime Select players will also benefit from an on-site business summit during Takeover Weekend and tailored business mentorship in the months leading up to and during league play. As they look ahead to college and professional basketball, they’ll learn about public relations and get media training and brand-building guidance while also taking financial literacy classes. Players will also get to work with Overtime’s apparel and design team to create their own team names, logos, colors and uniforms.

“We are excited to learn more about the business side of the game, including marketing and branding,” said Mia Pauldo. “Being that we already have our own brand [TBC/TwinBackCourt] we are always looking forward to learning more, particularly about financial literacy.”

Malas said while players are excited to test their skills against the country’s best, they’re equally as interested in learning how their counterparts are handling the relatively new world of name, image and likeness and personal branding.

“They’re so excited to be working together,” Malas told ESPN. “They’re excited to hear each other’s different brand building and logo ideas. Yes, there is the competition, but this is way more of a community and an opportunity for them.”

Overtime Select is a twist on Overtime Elite, which launched in 2021. Elite offers an alternative to the NCAA model for 16- to 20-year-old high school boys basketball players. Participants in the sixth-month, Atlanta-based league can choose a scholarship option to maintain college eligibility or accept a minimum annual salary of $100,000, a signing bonus and Overtime shares. The league has focused on player development, education, brand development and financial empowerment. In bringing together some of the country’s best players and their families, Porter and Weiner recognized the need for a new, nontraditional path for elite players.

When it was time to address similar needs on the girls’ side, simply recreating the Overtime Elite model wasn’t going to work.

“The rush to get to the next level isn’t as fast or drastic on the women’s side,” said Malas. “The majority of the women want to play in college as there is great exposure at that level and they will have significant NIL opportunities.”

Overtime Select hopes to build on the success of OvertimeWBB, a dedicated social channel for girls’ and women’s basketball highlights and content, and Overtime Takeover events — weekends that have helped elevate rising stars like Zia Cooke, “Queen of the Court” in 2019, and given a platform and NIL deals to college-going player-coaches like Bueckers, Jones and Aliyah Boston.

Takeover events also prepare players for the high pressure situations they’ll face at the next level. Johnson, a guard for the reigning NCAA champion LSU Tigers, told Malas that dealing with the bright lights, countless cameras and packed stands at Overtime Takeover events was the best preparation for the overwhelming feelings that accompany playing in March Madness games.

Johnson learned that how she performed on the court could have an immediate impact on the business side. A great game or viral highlight on a big stage instantly boosted follower numbers and inspired fans to join along in her journey.

“[Overtime events] make you feel like a professional,” Johnson said. “With all the resources they give you, they treat you like a professional. You are in this environment where you just wanna work and get better. I think that’s so, so, so dope.”

Mental health resources are available to help players adjust to newfound fame and a whole slew of new fans and critics. The players will also be able to bring a parent or guardian with them during the four-week league. Malas and her Overtime counterparts have been heartened by the natural way players bond together and help each other through what can be a tough transition, both behind the scenes or in the stands at events.

“The younger generation is really positive,” she said. “They support each other. In the past Takeover events that we have, our male athletes were there supporting our women’s athletes. It is electric and they’re jumping up and down screaming for them, so excited. It’s really cool.”

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