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.
By ADAM ZAGORIA
JellyFam is back.
The Our Saviour Lutheran basketball team will be known as JellyFam as it enters its second season in Overtime Elite. Led by North Carolina-bound wing Ian Jackson, Syracuse commit Elijah Moore and Mississippi State commit Dellquan Warren, OSL will continue the JellyFam tradition with the injection of a whole new generation of athletes.
“JellyFam, pioneered by the likes of Isaiah Washington, Jahvon Quinerly, Sid Johnson and Jordan Walker, has not just been a team but a transformative movement in New York basketball,”said Peter Wehye, the OSL and JellyFam coach.
“Today, as we step into the electrifying realm of the Overtime Elite league as the all-new JellyFam team, I am honored to carry this legacy forward with a fresh wave of extraordinary talent, namely Ian Jackson, Elijah Moore, and Dellquan Warren and more. We’re not just here to sustain; we’re here to elevate and revolutionize basketball to the next level. The evolution of JellyFam with Overtime enters a new epoch, and together, we will redefine the pinnacle of elite basketball. I will lead this team to the championship!”
Overtime Elite is an eight-team league for 16-to-20-year-olds that can serve as an alternate path to a traditional high school route. Three of the league’s eight teams are based in Atlanta, while the other five are high school teams spread around the country. Each high school team will have its own brand this season:
Combine Academy (Blue Checks)
PHHoenix Prep (Diamond Doves)
Our Saviour Lutheran (JellyFam)
SoCal Academy (Rolling Loud)
Moravian Prep (YNG Dreamerz)
JellyFam began with players like Washington, Quinerly, Johnson and Walker when they were in high school nearly a decade ago.
“In order to be in Jellyfam, you gotta do three jellys on somebody in one game,” Washington told me in 2016 “A jelly’s a finger roll.”
He added: “If the people complete the task, then they could be in the jellyfam”
With OSL now being branded under the JellyFam umbrella, Washington, playing professionally in Germany, told ZAGSBLOG:
“JellyFam means everything to me because [of] where I’m from,” he said. “All I saw was violence and people getting praised for being gangster, so me and Jaquaye James created this group to show kids there are other ways to get noticed and if you just stay locked in on your dreams you can be a good role model to the world.”
Said Quinerly: “I would say it’s pretty special having JellyFam as a Team in OTE. Me personally watching Overtime blow up since i was in high school, and to now have a league is amazing. And what’s even more amazing is seeing the Overtime Elite team give back to not only the youth but to some of the creators of JellyFam.
“Full circle moment. Very excited for the growth of the league and some of my fellow JellyFam members who helped get this thing off the floor. Much love to Overtime.”
The original JellyFam used a grape emoji to promote its movement on social media.
In 2017, the new Paul George-inspired Nike sneakers that sold for $90 also used a grape emoji on the toe area.
“Nike’s doing what a businessperson would do,” Sonny Vaccaro, the legendary grassroots sneaker guru who signed Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to multi-million dollar sneaker deals, told ZAGSBLOG in 2017. “They found an idea. They don’t have to give someone else credit for it other than their employee Paul George and they profit by it.
“I’m not saying who’s first here, I’m not saying who’s second. I’m saying who popularized it was this kid Washington. That’s who made it popular, Isaiah and his teammates.”
With JellyFam now making a comeback through OSL and OTE, Washington is fully onboard with the continuation of his legacy.
“It’s an honor to have Jelly Fam be a part of OTE,” Washington told ZAGSBLOG. “They have a wonderful platform for players to showcase their talents, and JellyFam is excited to be a part of the new generation of players growing and getting better as men and players.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.