Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins’ shoe contract could be worth $140-180 million

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One of the most interesting, and underreported, aspects of Andrew Wiggins’ decision to enroll at Kansas instead of Florida State, North Carolina and Kentucky had little to do with basketball and everything to do with shoes.

Wiggins came up as a Nike kid. He played for the CIA Bounce, which is affiliated with Nike. Huntington Prep, Wiggins’ high school, was sponsored by the swoosh as well. But Kansas is an Adidas school, which more or less goes against everything that we’ve ever been told about shoe companies and recruiting.

How could Nike let the most hyped prospect in years end up at an Adidas school?

Perhaps more interesting: Who will Wiggins sign with when he gets out of college, and how much will that contract guarantee him?

Well, according to this story from Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report, Wiggins could be looking at a 10-year deal worth somewhere between $140 million and $180 million. That’s a lot of money.

Zwerling’s story is a fascinating look at certain aspects of the shoe industry. For example, if Nike shelled out that kind of money for Wiggins and made a push to turn him into one of the bigger names in the company, would that anger their two biggest stars, Lebron and Kevin Durant? What about Kobe? Would he take kindly to the swoosh making a bid to bring his defacto replacement under the company’s wing? How would Kyrie Irving feel, seeing as he may be passed over as the next big thing?

Zwerling also points out that something that I never realized about the shoe business: the companies don’t profit off of these massive contracts. Lebron didn’t become profitable under his ninth season with Nike. That’s not exactly a great business model.

More than anything, however, here’s the takeaway you should have when reading those numbers: it’s a joke to say that college athletes are getting a fair deal with a scholarship when Nike would be willing to pay Wiggins somewhere around $15 million a year to wear their shoes. Granted, Wiggins is an exception, not a rule; his value is rooted in how unique he is as a prospect.

But what about a guy like Marcus Smart? He’s an all-american that returned to school and he has a future in the NBA. You don’t think there’s significant value there? Or what about a guy like Alex Len? He played at Maryland, where Under Armour founder Kevin Plank went to school. Under Armour is trying to break into the basketball shoe market. You don’t think they would have been willing to spend some money to get him under the UA umbrella once they realized he had a shot to make the league?

This is an argument that takes a lot more than just a 400 word blog post to make, but it is worth pointing out just how much value some of these “amateurs” and “student-athletes” actually have.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.

VIDEO: Jim Boeheim makes TV appearance to talk Carmelo Anthony

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Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has drawn attention for some recent comments about former Orange star Carmelo Anthony.

After Anthony captured his record third gold medal with USA Basketball, his former college coach told Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard that Anthony didn’t have a great chance at winning an NBA title.

“He’s unlikely to win an NBA title,” Boeheim said of Anthony. “He’s never been on a team that even had a remote chance of winning an NBA title.”

Boeheim maintains that he was speaking of Melo’s legacy being about more than an NBA title and that he’s one of the game’s greats thanks to other accomplishments like the Syracuse title and gold medals. On SportsCenter, Boeheim made sure to stress where those comments were coming from, while also making sure his kids would stop being mad at him.

It’s much easier to understand where Boeheim is coming from in this instance and it clears up something that will probably go away now.

Big Ten releases conference schedule

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 22:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Virginia Cavaliers during the third round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 22, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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The Big Ten released its 2016-17 conference schedule on Thursday as the conference season begins on Dec. 27 with a four-game set.

Conference play will conclude on March 5th before the 20th annual Big Ten Tournament is played at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. from March 8-12.

Some notable games include Penn State hosting Michigan State at the Palestra on Jan. 7.

You can view the full Big Ten schedule here.

Arizona’s Talbott Denny injures knee, out for season

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Arizona senior forward Talbott Denny will miss the season after tearing the ACL and medial meniscus in his left knee.

The school said Wednesday that the 6-foot-5 graduate transfer from Lipscomb will have surgery.

Denny, from Tucson’s Salpointe Catholic High School, missed all of last season at Lipscomb because of a shoulder injury.

Roy Williams: ‘There’s no question’ more ACC games equal no Kentucky in non-conference

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 23: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks on during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Iowa State Cyclones at the AT&T Center on March 23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Back in June, when the ACC officially announced that they would be expanding the league schedule to 20 games in 2019, I tried to warn you that it was going to put a dent into the non-conference schedule and the amount of quality, on-campus games that we’ll get prior to January.

Roy Williams essentially confirmed this as fact this week.

The North Carolina head coach hopped on a podcast with ESPN and more or less said that the bigger league schedule is going to lead to an end of some of UNC’s marquee home-and-home series.

“My feeling right now, and it could change by ’19, heck I could be fired by ’19, but my feeling right now is to play our conference schedule, play one exempt event where you have really good teams, and other than that play home games to help out your revenue and help out your budget,” Williams said. “We have the ACC/Big Ten and that’s not going to go away. So it’s 21 games already scheduled.”

When asked specifically if this would put an end to UNC’s series with Kentucky, Williams said, “Oh yeah, there’s no question. Why would I need to do that?”

There’s two reasons this makes sense. On the one hand, North Carolina needs to fill their home arena a certain number of times to help with the bottom line of the athletic department. They make enough off of ticket sales, merchandise sales, parking fees and food and beverage that they can afford to pay out more than $50,000 to bring a smaller opponent into their arena. More than that, playing a series of weaklings early in the year allows players to gain confidence, it allows Williams to figure out what his rotation will be and who can handle playing at this level, and it gives newcomers a chance to assimilate into his team against players that just aren’t that good.

And when a larger ACC schedule severely limits the number of non-conference games that UNC will be able to play, what’s going to get cut are the contracts that require the Tar Heels to play on the road when they don’t have to.

So buh-bye, Kentucky, it is.