Well, it seems as if quite a few people have been had when it comes to the potential shoe endorsement money that Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins could make when he makes the move to the NBA.
On Tuesday it was reported by Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report that Wiggins was in line to receive a sneaker endorsement deal ranging from $140 – $180 million for ten years, a stunning number when considering the fact that Nike paid LeBron James a cool $90 million in 2003. But according to Sole Collector, which keeps covers all aspects of the shoe industry, that “offer” was a hoax.
It all apparently stems from this alleged memo from adidas Group CEO Herbert Hainer, addressed blankly to a Wiggins representative, which Sole Collector has exclusively obtained below and has also confirmed to be entirely fake.
“There is a fraudulent letter that claims to be from our company offering Mr. Wiggins a contract. Any reasonable review of the letter would determine its lack of credibility,”an adidas Basketball spokesperson told Sole Collector this morning. “Beyond this, we do not comment on rumors or speculation about potential partnerships.”
Sole Collector also has a copy of the letter in question, and author Nick DePaula also noted two important facts in the story: the letter lacked both a date and an address, and such an offer would jeopardize Wiggins’ college eligibility before he’s even played a game.
There are probably a few important lessons to be learned here, with the need to thoroughly investigate such “reports” being one, but all I can think is that this season could get absolutely crazy for Wiggins between now and whenever Kansas’ season comes to an end. That’s part of the balancing act that Wiggins and head coach Bill Self will have to deal with as they look to win yet another Big 12 title and reach the Final Four.
And given how reluctant he’s been to embrace the national spotlight, it seems more likely that Wiggins won’t be the one who triggers such a circus.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.