Dominick Barlow is Storming His Way onto NBA Draft Boards with a Rather Unique Pathway | Zagsblog
Recent Posts
About ZagsBlog
Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Follow Zags on Twitter
Couldn't connect with Twitter
Contact Zags
Connect with Zags:
Sunday / July 14.
  • Dominick Barlow is Storming His Way onto NBA Draft Boards with a Rather Unique Pathway

    Share Zagsblog Share Zagsblog

    ATLANTADominick Barlow’s mind is clouded with fear, doubt and a sense of homesickness. The shy 18-year-old looks into the crowd of 25 other teenagers with dreams of becoming an NBA star as he ventures into a first-of-its-kind opportunity. 

    It’s September 10, 2021 and Barlow is embarking on his first day with Overtime Elite, a new professional league which looks to provide 16 to 19 year old basketball stars an alternative to college in order to train for the NBA Draft. 

    There is no tutorial for this. No previous trials to fall back on. When Overtime offered as part of its initial class just weeks prior, Barlow was just two days into his acclimation to a new prep school, having transferred to Bridgton Academy, located on the northern tip of Long Lake in North Bridgton, Maine. He was equipped with only a gut-feeling and a bevy of research as he toiled for two weeks before ultimately deciding to put his fate in this upstart league. 

    “Usually when you’re faced with decisions in life, you could make a good decision or a bad decision,” Barlow said. “But when you have two good opportunities, it becomes hard.” 

    For Barlow, the decision to join wasn’t a result of the $100,000 salary or a small share of the Overtime company. Instead, it was the unlimited hours in the gym and the chance to return to college and get his degree if it all doesn’t pan out how he imagines. However, with just about four months until the draft, Barlow’s chase for an NBA roster spot remains firmly within reach. 

    In his first six months with Overtime Elite, Barlow has transformed into one of the most dynamic and versatile prospects in the nation. Many draft boards have the 6-foot-9, 214-pound forward projected to be a second round draft pick in the 2022 NBA draft with room to climb higher. He has a uniquely mobile game for his height with uncanny rim protection, skilled footwork in the post and an ever-improving 3-point arsenal. 

    “I put everything into this and so far it’s looking like I made a good decision,” Barlow said. 

    Dom Barlow (Feb. 4, 2021)
    For some players, the passion for the game is evident from the minute they touch a basketball. For others, it takes some time to develop a love for the game. Barlow belongs in the latter group. 

    Growing up in the town of Dumont, N.J., Barlow always looked the part of a basketball phenom with incredible length and an advanced skill set for his age.

    “When he started playing recreational basketball in third grade, he wanted no part of it,” Barlow’s mother, Theresa said. “But if he tells the story, he’ll say he’s known from the beginning that he wanted to play.” 

    As a child, Barlow’s fondest basketball memories come from his post game activities with friends, going out to eat and playing video games. “If I wasn’t necessarily enjoying basketball, I could always look forward to something after,” Dominick says. 

    He describes his early encounters with the game as coasting through without a sense of direction. His uncommon skill set and understanding of the game still separated him from his contemporaries, but for years, he remained indifferent to any goals of a professional career. 

    That carefree attitude carried on throughout his freshman year at Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he failed to find much playing time and ultimately returned back to his hometown at Dumont High School. As a sophomore, Barlow averaged just over nine points per game, but a breakout was brewing. 

    By the time his junior year came around, Dumont had lost multiple starters to graduation, opening up the chance for Barlow to climb into the starting lineup. Straight from the jump, Barlow took full advantage of his increased playing time, scoring 27 points in his first game of the 2019-20 season. 

    After averaging 23.3 points, 12.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game as a junior, Barlow’s stock began to rise, but it wasn’t until the summer that college coaches began to catch on. 

    During the COVID lockdowns of spring 2020, it would be common to find Barlow shooting around in Dumont, practicing on outdoor courts. That’s where Oz Cross came into the picture. 

    Cross, the former head coach at Our Saviour Lutheran High School in Bronx, NY,  was taking his son to the park one afternoon when he noticed a tall, blonde teenager shooting around at the local court. He noticed a very good base to his game and decided to take a chance on him, offering him the opportunity to work out with the New York Rens, a local AAU team with the Nike Elite Youth Boys Basketball League. 

    “At that time, he had never played with any high-level kids,” Cross said. “Every week, he just was getting better and better and better and better. It was like, wow, every time this kid comes to the gym, he just gets better.” 

    It didn’t take long for Barlow to draw the attention of the Rens, earning a roster spot and lighting the fuse behind his terrific performance on the Nike EYBL, culminating with a trip to the semifinals of Peach Jam, the crown jewel of the summer recruiting period. 

    It was during his time with the Rens that Barlow connected with a couple of Top-100 recruits in Jazian Gortman and Bryce Griggs

    Gortman, a 6-foot-1 guard out of Columbia, S.C., was the top-ranked player in the state of South Carolina in the class of 2022, while Griggs, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Houston was a top-five prospect in the state of Texas for 2022. 

    When the Overtime offer came around in August, Griggs and Gortman were already signed on as part of OTE’s original class and when Barlow finally joined Overtime Elite in August, they were the two familiar faces in the crowd. 

    Griggs, a starter on Team Elite’s roster, has the chance to face off against Barlow in interleague games throughout the season. 

    “You don’t find too many players like him,” Griggs said. “He can dribble, shoot and he does everything good. That’s the great thing about him. A guy like him doesn’t need the ball.” 

    For Gortman, a teammate of Barlow on Team Overtime, he notices the confidence boost Barlow has seen over the course of the year, propelling him to NBA Draft status. 

    “He’s one of the hardest workers at OTE,” Gortman said. “He’s all about the grind. He’s not really into other things that don’t concern basketball. He’ll get the job done.” 

    Spend five minutes with Dom Barlow and you’re guaranteed to hear the word family. So, it should come as no surprise that when his mother and grandparents came to visit for Team Overtime’s Feb. 4 contest with DME Academy at OTE Arena, Barlow had some extra motivation brewing. 

    Straight from the jump, Barlow was dialed in. After scoring 13 first quarter points, Barlow eventually finished with 27 points on 10-for-15 from the field and five-for-five from three point range. 

    “Seeing my family in the arena really got me going,” Barlow said, noting he was also honoring the memory of his second grade teacher who passed away shortly before the game. “There was a lot of emotion in that game. I think I played very well because of it.” 

    While his mother had spent hours upon hours watching Dom play on live streams, she said seeing him play in OTE arena for the first time was ‘amazing’. 

    “I really lucked out with that game,” she said. “It was great to see it in person and really see everything that was going on.”  

    As the season winds down and the inaugural Overtime Elite playoffs come into view, Barlow will look to guide Team Overtime to an OTE Championship, which awards each player on the championship team with $10,000.

    Barlow has gone from the shy, tall blonde kid from Dumont, New Jersey to one of the biggest leaders within the Overtime Elite program, receiving acclaim from teammates and coaches alike. 

    “For anybody that’s trying to make it to the furthest they can go in any profession is that they have to love it and be infatuated with their job and profession,” Team Overtime coach Ryan Gomes said. “I think Dom Barlow is the epitome of that because with every opportunity he gets, he’s in here working.” 

    For Dominick Barlow, his time with Overtime Elite is more than just a hobby. With a six-figure salary and a chance at the NBA Draft on the line, this has become his life. 

    “I took a chance on a start-up league and I’m reaping all the rewards of taking that chance,” Barlow said. “Some people don’t understand the league fully. Once you see what goes in every single day, you’ll understand why we chose to come here.”

    Photos: Overtime Elite

    Follow Jacob Polacheck on Twitter

    Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter

    Follow ZAGSBLOGHoops on Instagram

    And Like ZAGS on Facebook

  • } });