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Boardroom Q&A: Amen and Ausar Thompson of Overtime Elite

Hear from the super-talented OTE twins about what they plan to bring to NBA teams, looking ahead to draft night, and — of course — whether they’ve ever switched places.

In December at Nike‘s Swoosh Classic in Brooklyn, it wasn’t hard to tell that Overtime Elite phenoms Amen and Ausar Thompson stood out from the rest of the players on the court.

It often seemed as if the south Florida twins were going 1.5x speed compared to teammates and opponents alike, with sprints, leaps, bursts, passes, jumpers, and layups that oozed elite ability, hardwood IQ, and athleticism. Born on Jan. 30, 2003, the twins are currently projected near the top of the 2023 NBA Draft board — per the latest ESPN mock draft. the 6-foot-7 Amen goes No. 3 overall, while the similarly sized Ausar is pegged at No. 5. They’re by far the best prospects in the two-season history of OTE, which has a six-team league in place for 2022-23 to develop its prep-level stars for the professional leap.

After dominant second-half performances from the twins in a blowout win, Amen and Ausar Thompson sat down with Boardroom to discuss what they plan to bring to NBA teams, what draft night will be like, whether they ever swapped places, and which pros inspired them the most on their journey.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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SHLOMO SPRUNG: What made OTE so appealing to you guys? 

AUSAR THOMPSON: I feel like the 24-hour gym access, the trainers and coaches that have been at the highest level — a higher level than any coach that I’ve been with before. 

SS: Why do that and not college? 

AUSAR: At the time, I was a senior, and OTE had more to offer than the high school I could have gone to my next year. 

AMEN THOMPSON: I’ll say our dream was like never to go to college. It’s always been to be one of the best in the NBA, so college didn’t really matter to me. 

SS: Has a pro setting always felt natural to you guys? 

AUSAR: Yeah, definitely. I was always open for sure. 

SS: LaMelo Ball was someone who kind of started the current trend of going overseas or not going the college route. Did he pave the way for you guys, or did your inspiration come from elsewhere?

AUSAR: Honestly, I don’t feel like anyone really paved the way for us. I was just confident that if we put the work in, no matter where we went, we would end up in a similar position, so that’s just what you gotta do. 

AMEN: Facts. 

SS: What would you say you guys are going to bring to an NBA team? 

AUSAR: I think I’m going to bring defense, IQ, passing. I’m confident my shot’s going to be up there and better by the time I’m in that position. 

AMEN: I think I’m going to bring defense, playmaking, energy. A young body that’s very athletic, that can finish.  I think I could bring a lot to an NBA team. 

SS: When did you guys know that you were different in terms of your ability on the court?

AUSAR: I feel like in third grade we were naturals at it. That’s when I remember starting and remember being better than a lot of players.

SS: When you guys get to the league, you’re gonna have a bunch of endorsement opportunities. If you could have a dream sponsorship deal with any brand, what would it be?

AMEN: I don’t even know, to be honest. 

AUSAR: I definitely don’t know. I like every brand [laughs].

SS: Do you guys have a favorite set of twins both in sports and outside sports? 

AUSAR: In sports, I’d say me and Amen. 

AMEN: The Bewleys [also of Overtime Elite]. 

AUSAR: The Bewleys!

AMEN: Matt Bewley and Ryan Bewley. Those are my favorite twins in sports.

SS: Have you guys ever swapped places?

AMEN: Yeah, one time on a DC boat trip for our school. They really fell for it, too. We just traded shoes. That’s all we did. 

SS: Who do you look up to the most as an NBA player on the court? 

AMEN: I feel like LeBron’s always been my favorite player, so I’ve always looked up to him a lot. And just big guards, but I’d give LeBron it.

AUSAR: I’d say LeBron until Kobe passed, and then I started looking at Kobe and I was like, “yeah, he’s the truth.” 

SS: What example do you think you guys are setting for future Overtime Elite players who want to take this route and make the league? 

AMEN: An example I think we’re setting is of two people who work really hard. It doesn’t really fully matter the position you’re in. People always say you have to go to the top school, but Steph Curry wasn’t in that position, so it’s the work you really put in, and I think OTE is going to reflect the work we’ve put in.

SS: Have you guys thought about what your draft night will actually look like and sound like?

AMEN: The only thing I thought about is I don’t know how many people will be at a table, so if I’m in the greenroom, how many people can I bring?

SS: If you’re both invited, you’ll each get a separate table. It’s about five or six people per table.

AMEN: I’m going to get my eight locked in and then four people I see on the street and just let them experience it.

SS: I wonder if there’s a separate scouting combine for who gets to sit at the tables.

AMEN: Because my mom and dad love me more, they’re going to sit with me. My whole family [laughs]. 

SS: Have you guys thought about what your lives are going to be like a year from now? How different things are gonna be?

AUSAR: I try to take everything a day at a time. Obviously, you think about it, but you can’t think ahead. You don’t know what’s going to happen, so I take everything a day at a time.

SS: Which players are you looking forward to going up against in the league?

AMEN: I just want to go up against the best players.

AUSAR: Come in with the same mentality. I want to just guard the best player, get better every game. Learn from everything.

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