Big 12 M5: 03.07.14 Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on March 7th, 2014

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  1. Adidas revealed new uniforms that 10 of its member institutions will wear just in time for the NCAA Tournament. Two of those schools participating will be Kansas and Baylor of the Big 12, assuming the Bears get in. Cool, huh? Because it gets progressively worse from here. Kansas’ uniform looks similar to a look the Jayhawks have worn in the past, but Baylor’s jersey is perhaps the worst of all — highlighter yellow, which has become an unofficial school color in recent years. But here’s where it gets loony: Their familiar “Sic ‘Em Bears” slogan is scrawled across the front. Then there were these photos of ex-Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III “rocking out” the new look on Twitter. To borrow a line from Golden God Dennis Reynolds, everyone at adidas was on the gas and nobody was on the brakes. I mean, Indiana and Notre Dame are getting NCAA Tournament jerseys? Have they even looked at the Big Ten or ACC standings? Major face-palm, guys.
  2. First he told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that he might come back for a sophomore season. Now Joel Embiid took to Twitter on Thursday to reflect on Wednesday’s win, saying he “can’t wait to be a senior.” Embiid doesn’t seem like the trolling or misleading type, but we’re so used to college players changing their minds that we expect it to happen every time. What if he’s actually serious and he does come back for a sophomore season? Then a junior year? And a senior year? Two things will happen: We’ll be treated to several more years to watch a blossoming player become great, and in the end, we’ll feel like cynical jerks for ever doubting him. Come to think of it, that doesn’t sound so bad. I’ll take more college Embiid and the accompanying cynicism, please.
  3. Things could get weird Saturday as Iowa State plans to have its “Senior Day” to honor players which include once former and current guard Bubu Palo. However, the Des Moines Register talked to Palo and he’s taking a mature approach towards the situation, which has understandably put coach Fred Hoiberg in an awkward spot heading into the game against Oklahoma State. “Coach Fred has been great throughout this,” Palo told the Register. “I wouldn’t want people to think that he’s depriving me of a senior moment.” Another reason Palo would be fine with not playing Saturday is because he’s seeking a potential sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA. Playing any minutes from now until the end of the season could severely lessen his chances of getting an extra year on the team. With Kane departing, Palo could be the starting point guard next year if Hoiberg doesn’t have anyone else coming in.
  4. It’s hard to believe, but Scott Drew is tied for the second-longest tenured head coach in the Big 12. Drew went on CBS Sports Radio Thursday morning and said that this conference season is the best he has “been a part of” in his 11 years at Baylor. It certainly beats his first few seasons in Waco. All kidding aside, Drew is right. There’s a strong possibility that the league can get seven teams into the field of 68 this year, and that would tie a conference high that was set when seven of 12 teams made the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The Big 12 has had at least four teams make the NCAAs in each of the last 17 years. None of the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-10/12, Atlantic 10, SEC, Mountain West and Missouri Valley conferences can make that claim. But seven making the Dance in the current 10-team format would be all the more impressive.
  5. The r/CollegeBasketball page has brought this video to our attention. In it is a slow motion replay of Marcus Smart attempting to slap Wesley Iwundu after the two unintentionally bumped chests during Monday’s Kansas State-Oklahoma State game in Stillwater. It appears Smart had clear intent to slap Iwundu but he just missed as he was trying to get open elsewhere on the floor. It isn’t known if the Big 12 is reviewing this play or whether the league will hand down a punishment on the matter, but it’s one thing if the conference comes out and says they didn’t find anything incriminating on the play and quite another to not comment on it at all. It wouldn’t reflect well on the Big 12, however, if the league remains completely quiet about this.
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Reported adidas Deal With Andrew Wiggins Sets Precedent Very High

Posted by David Harten on October 17th, 2013

According to various media reports on Tuesday, adidas is already stocking up to make a play on current Kansas star Andrew Wiggins, with the shoe giant ready to the throw a 10-year, $140 to $180 million contract at him when he goes pro after this season. Wiggins is widely touted as the top prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft, so let’s move past any issues or claims of amateurism and instead look at the how and why of this supposed deal. Looking at the immediate future, when Wiggins is selected in the first round of the draft next June, he will get the guaranteed four-year contract that comes with selection as a first round pick, per the NBA’s recent collective bargaining agreement. Breaking it down to a simple annual take of salary ($4 million-plus per year) plus endorsements, Wiggins will make a minimum of $18-$22 million per year beginning next summer, assuming of course that he lives up to the overflowing hype while passing through Lawrence.

Why Is This Man Smiling? Nine Figures Waiting Helps

Why Is This Man Smiling? Nine Figures Waiting For Him Helps

For comparison’s sake, let’s look at some of the more lucrative endorsement deals offered to young professional basketball prospects in the last decade. It’s tough to find a good benchmark, but you have to start with LeBron James’ deal with Nike in 2003, which was reportedly worth over $90 million at the time. In terms of one-year collegiate wonders, Kevin Durant signed a seven-year, $60 million deal with Nike when he came out of Texas, and lest we forget, Derrick Rose signed a monster “lifetime” (actual: 14-year) contract with adidas last year worth $260 million.

And yet, none of those deals are as important as the one that Wiggins could reportedly sign. There are certain number of factors that go into it. First, a company being publicly locked and loaded with such a deal (of course, neither adidas nor Wiggins can confirm it) could set off a behind-the-scenes bidding war and set the stage for preemptive moves like this in the future. Everyone around the game knows that the business of basketball begins when top players are still in the AAU ranks. With the shoe companies having such deep and prolific roots in the summer circuits and associations with the major prep schools, it’s easy to understand how and why many players are predestined for adidas, Nike, Reebok, and so forth from the beginning. Kansas is an adidas school. Wouldn’t it make sense for Wiggins to represent the shoe company on the court this season with such a tremendous payoff waiting for him in the wings? Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, Dream Vision and adidas all say hello.

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Morning Five: 10.16.13 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 16th, 2013

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  1. Maybe we should just start calling this post the Wiggins Five, given how often Andrew Wiggins is finding his way into it without having played a single minute of college basketball. But yesterday’s news regarding the precocious Kansas freshman was more than just standard hyperbole and filler, as Bleacher Report‘s Jared Zwerling (yes, this is a first for this site; we’re just as astonished as you are) reported that the shoe giant adidas is already estimating a deal of $140-$180 million over 10 years to sign Wiggins to pitch its brand next spring (and that Nike is set to match it). By way of a comparison, Nike signed LeBron James to a then-ridiculous $93 million deal a decade ago, and that was without the benefit of ubiquitous social media tracking his every dunk, quip and Hummer purchase. Nor did James have a year of nationally-televised college basketball games to help build his overall branding — can you imagine how high the number could get if Wiggins dominates the season and leads Kansas to a national title next April — is a quarter-bill out of the question?
  2. A different class of 2013 prep star may not be looking at a nine-figure endorsement deal like Wiggins in several months, but he’s poised to make more money than the Kansas freshman (and every other freshman) for the duration of the 2013-14 season. Aquille Carr, a top 100 recruit at the point guard position, is reportedly taking David Stern’s “sage” and controversial advice about getting a better education in the NBA Development League than at one of America’s colleges by entering his name into next month’s NBADL Draft. The 5’7″ prospect from Baltimore originally committed to Seton Hall but decided to go pro before ever making it to campus, briefly entertaining the idea of playing in China before settling on his decision to come back home and settle into a year of long bus rides between Frisco, Texas and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. While we don’t know Carr’s specific issues with respect to skipping out on a subsidized education at Seton Hall, his dream of getting picked up in next year’s NBA Draft as a waterbug distributor is probably a significant long shot. For the next six months, though, he should take solace in all the pocket change that his pay scale of $13,000 to $25,500 (2013 numbers) will give him over the chumps playing for free in college.
  3. For some strange reason, four of the seven power basketball conferences have decided to have their annual media day on the same day, that is, today. The ACC (Charlotte), AAC (Memphis), Big East (New York) and SEC (Birmingham) will all introduce their coaches, players and teams at overblown events Wednesday, with the SEC taking an extraordinary two days (Wednesday and Thursday) to sell the world on its mediocre basketball product. The Pac-12 will have its annual event in San Francisco on Thursday, while the Big 12 and Big Ten had enough sense to space theirs out into later weeks. As ESPN.com‘s Dana O’Neil writes, this week’s events in Charlotte, Memphis and NYC should make for some world-class awkwardness as coaches try to size each other up and figure out who is staying and leaving. #awkwardconferencemeetups, anyone?
  4. Officiating is always going to be a point of contention among coaches, fans and media in large part because there are so many different leagues and organizations supporting the 838 Division I referees calling games across America. Inconsistency (along with its cousin, general incompetence) is the most common complaint, as people have trouble understanding how a touch foul in the ACC can be called while a mugging in the Big Ten is ignored. The NCAA has made some strides in trying to normalize the rules and criteria for calling fouls, for example, but it often seems as if the referees spend the non-conference season making calls the new way only to revert back to the old way by conference play. This year is no different. Preseason points of emphasis on hand-checking and the incomprehensible block/charge rule are the talk of coaches around the country, but as ESPN.com‘s Jeff Goodman writes, there remains a great deal of apprehension over the effect of the changes. One thing we suppose that most people can agree upon, though, is that it surely can’t get much worse?
  5. Let’s end things with some fun today. NBCSportsCollege Basketball Talk released its list of the top 20 dunkers in the game yesterday, and although you can nitpick around the edges of  any ranking like this, you’ll have a whole lot more enjoyment by just sitting back and watching the clips. It really must be the Year of the Freshman, as CBT selects two rookies among its top three (it’s not difficult figuring out who they might be). Our one quibble might be that they left out a transfer student who became infamous for perhaps the greatest missed airballed dunk layup of all-time last season — Georgetown’s Joshua Smith. But no worries — the 6’10″ jumping jack of a center will be tearing down rims at a DC-area arena near you soon.
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Nevada Gaming Control Board Investigating Marcus Jordan

Posted by jstevrtc on August 30th, 2010

Ahhh, yes, the permanence of Twitter combined with the immaturity of (near-) teenagers. Central Florida’s Marcus Jordan is now being investigated by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to determine what laws, if any, were broken last week when the 20-year old Jordan tweeted about spending $35,000 at Haze and Liquid Pool Lounge (a nightclub and pool in the Aria complex at Vegas’ CityCenter) and $56,000 during an entire day in Las Vegas.

Jordan now has this distraction to think about in addition to classes and hoops.

Jordan, who averaged 8.0 PPG and 3.1 RPG last season as a freshman at UCF, made news close to the beginning of last season when he found himself caught between allegiance to his famous father and the contractual obligations of the school. UCF was an Adidas-sponsored school, but Marcus understandably wanted to wear the Nike Air Jordans that his father immortalized. When Marcus stuck to his guns, Adidas ended their association with the school. UCF now has an agreement with Nike that started back on July 1.

Most people with whom we spoke at that time sided with Marcus and were surprised that a more creative solution couldn’t have been worked out with UCF and Adidas in what was certainly a bizarre set of circumstances. Regarding this new incident, we hear almost as much talk about the amount of money spent and the gambling habits of the Jordan men as we do about Jordan being under 21. This is yet another strange set of circumstances, since Jordan isn’t doing anything wrong by coming from a wealthy family. He’s allowed to have and spend as much money as he wants — as long as he isn’t buying alcohol and gambling while underage, of course. The NGCB obviously couldn’t care less about the amount spent or who spent it, and will surely focus more on the fact that, yes, even in Nevada, both drinking and gambling — and the commensurate loss of wads of cash — are still the exclusive domain of adults aged 21 and over.

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Adi-dissed

Posted by jstevrtc on November 5th, 2009

Marcus Jordan just proved to the world that blood is indeed thicker than shoe leather.  As you may recall, Marcus — son of Michael (and yes, Marcus, you’re stuck with that for life) — signed on to play at the University of Central Florida, a school that has a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract with Adidas.  Marcus wanted to wear Nike Air Jordans for pretty obvious reasons.  The school and Adidas were said to have been attempting to find a “workable solution.”

Here’s your solution.  Marcus wore a pair of white Air Jordans in an exhibition victory over Saint Leo on Wednesday night.  It isn’t clear whether or not Adidas waited to see in what shoes Marcus came out before they released this statement, but according to the story from ESPN.com, an Adidas rep sent an e-mail to the Associated Press reading, “The University of Central Florida has chosen not to deliver on their contractual commitment to Adidas.  As a result, we have chosen not to continue our relationship with them moving forward.”

Was this the right move by Adidas?  It’s easy to see their point.  We don’t know what kind of player Marcus will be, but even if the guy averages a Blutarsky (0.0 PPG) and does nothing but sit the bench for four years (he won’t), he’s still going to be the most visible player on that team just because he’s Michael’s son.  Marcus offered to wear Adidas products in every other aspect — uniform, sweatbands, whatever — but evidently this was not going to satisfy Adidas. 

Like everyone else involved, Adidas had to realize that this was a rather strange set of circumstances, but could they really ask a kid to sort of stick it to his dad like that?  Adidas could have taken the high road, acknowledged the bizarre situation, and let Marcus wear the Jordan kicks and otherwise Adidas gear.  That way, the rest of the team still wear Adidas products, the contract is left in place, and it’s only one single player in non-Adidas shoes.  Instead, with Adidas choosing to bow out, now it’s a whole team wearing another brand instead of just one player.  Adidas must be doing pretty well if they can just give up team contracts to other brands (especially, say, a certain company headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon)?  Some might say, “It’s Central Florida, not North Carolina.”  But, no matter the school, they could have made themselves look better here instead of just taking their contract and going home.

And that’s the most interesting part of this.  Adidas could have sued to make UCF honor the contract, and probably would have won, but they would have looked worse in the court of public opinion.  Seeing this, instead of keeping the contract in place except for Marcus Jordan’s feet, they just decided to quietly exit.  The only matter now is to see if the University of Central Florida basketball team will go from being called the Knights…to the Phil Knights?

 

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