Damien Wilkins adds to family legacy as head of Overtime Elite

By | September 18, 2022

He now leads a system that seeks to offer basketball’s prime prospects one other avenue to attain their skilled objectives. Additional time Elite, now in its first full yr since launching in March 2021, provides prospects instruments to assist them develop their expertise, work on their tutorial objectives, and empower them economically.

They started to see returns from their efforts to reverse the normal path to the NBA. Former time beyond regulation crew ahead Dominick Barlow signed a two-way contract with the Spurs, and guard Jean Montero signed a 10-piece contract with the Knicks.

Within the subsequent class of the NBA Draft, Amen and Ausar Thompson are projected lottery picks, whereas Jazian Gortman is predicted to be chosen within the second spherical.

“We have numerous work forward of us, clearly,” Wilkins stated. “However I believe there are a variety of various issues which have occurred since we began that allow folks know we’re not going wherever. We’re disruptive. Sure. However I believe it is is the plan, to do issues otherwise, in a non-traditional manner.

They signed 9 gamers for the upcoming season, together with Naasir Cunningham, the No. 1 highschool basketball recruit within the Class of 2024. Cunningham has provides from Duke, UCLA and 10 different colleges.

The NBA is not the one path Additional time Elite has inspired its signers to pursue.

Emmanuel Maldonado was drafted by the Mets from Guaynabo to the Baloncesto Superior Nacional League in Puerto Rico. He additionally had eight gamers graduate from the Additional time Elite Academy in his freshman yr and tried to show them different methods to get entangled in basketball.

To do that, they tried to make use of the expertise of Wilkins, who performed within the NBA with the Sonics, Thunder, Timberwolves, Hawks, Pistons, 76ers and Pacers. He additionally served as a regional consultant for the Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation for 3 years, the place he supported gamers with “off-court” assets to assist them pursue their respective careers, following his retirement in 2018.

Earlier than his skilled profession, Wilkins was named a McDonald’s All-American in 1999 earlier than enjoying basketball at NC State for 2 years. He then examined the NBA mix waters in 2001, however selected to return to highschool.

He transferred to Georgia after a coach advised him to not return to NC State, and Wilkins stated it put a chip on his shoulder. A strong Georgia profession, nevertheless, led to controversy because the Bulldogs’ bid for the NCAA Match was upended by a dispute between Tony Cole and coach Jim Harrick.

Wilkins has determined to embrace the turbulence, nevertheless, and he is utilizing it to arrange the 30 Additional time Elite gamers for his or her future. He hopes his seen function as Normal Supervisor and Head of Basketball Operations for Additional time Elite can present that there are various methods to achieve success in basketball.

“That is simply it,” Wilkins stated. ” That is all for me. Like all of this, the struggles, the calls for, the laborious work that must be performed, the uncertainty, proper?

“They sacrificed lots. Our first guys gave up their eligibility to return right here and be the trailblazers, the blokes that helped them, the brand new wave of fellows get the scholarship choices, all of them sacrificed lots to be right here. So I owe it, we owe it to them to offer them all the pieces we now have. If meaning generally our experiences and sharing these issues with them to assist them go proper once they go left, then so be it.

Additional time Elite has the Hawks’ native presence for example for his or her younger gamers to look to. They use residence recreation visits and participant visits to their benefit and present what success might appear like for them.

Following his father’s recommendation, the younger Wilkins urged the Additional time Elite gamers to not lower ties. He tried to make them perceive the significance of nurturing their skilled relationships, as a result of they do not know the place it could actually lead them.

This recommendation has helped him all through his profession. As Wilkins continues to develop Additional time Elite, it not solely provides to the Wilkins household legacy, but additionally adjustments the lives of the gamers they signal.

On Wednesday, Additional time Elite may have its draft through which Wilkins will construct three 10-man groups. Elite Additional time will launch their schedule on Friday.

“I simply need it to continue to grow, and I would like it to be the hub {of professional} improvement,” Wilkins stated. “And being in entrance of that on this metropolis, as a black man. Wow, proper? »