The Name, Picture, Likeness (NIL) World has changed the college basketball landscape. Top rookies and elite players have made significant sums – sometimes seven figures – in just the first year of this new era.
Rapid change has also prompted top leaders to push for more NIL opportunities on behalf of their athletes. Ohio State Athletic director Gene Smith said this summer it will take $13 million a year to maintain human resources in Columbus. This is no longer about stadiums, arenas, and posh locker rooms in the race for the top spot in collegiate sports. The NIL opportunities available to athletes are also important – especially when it comes to attracting transfers.
While the transfer portal set records before the NIL legislation took effect, it’s clear that top transfer athletes have considered earning potential when making decisions about their futures this season. However, things are still relatively new and undefined, so it’s hard to give an exact figure for that potential significance.
There are athletes with huge followings but without the NIL deals that others with smaller social media reach and more talent have been able to secure. There are athletes with strong brands who are millionaires. Meanwhile, the Nebraska Decoldest wide receiver Crawford signed a NIL contract with a heating and cooling company in Lincoln, Nebraska, to his name. A lot of this still doesn’t make sense.
The following is a list of 15 college basketball transfer students, boys and girls, who may have a variety of NIL opportunities at their new schools. It’s based on the partnerships athletes have signed, their talent, their social media following, their schools and new markets, and their potential to become a star – or at least is a bigger star – in the new season.
This is not a ranking – rather, a transfer group can be athletes, students and businessmen this season.
5-foot-6, guard, 19.8 PPG in Fresno State (2021-22); 5-6, guard, 14.5 PPG at Fresno State (2021-22)
According to Forbes, former State of Fresno the stars became millionaires before moving to South Beach this summer, with 31 deals done in the past year. They will now take advantage of more NIL opportunities – with the help of their 5 million social followers who enhance their collective value – and thrive in a hot spot for people famous and big brands.
6-10, forward, 9.7 PPG in Memphis (2021-22)
Bates is no longer the 15-year-old player who has been compared to Kevin Durant and seen as an NBA lottery ticket after averaging 9.7 PPG at Memphis in his freshman year. But he’s signed to Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s sports agency, and has more than 400,000 Instagram followers who are taking part in the return season of his hometown Michigan team. Saginaw, less than 100 miles from campus.
6-3, forward, 17.8 PPG in Maryland (2021-22)
The former Terrapins star caught the attention of major brands (Outback Steakhouse, Wingstop, Xfinity and Amazon) before her transfer. Now, she’s the top of the stacked list at a school ranked by the Wall Street Journal as the ninth most valuable college sports brand in 2019.
6-3, guard, 2.0 PPG in Tennessee (2021-22)
Prior to his admission to Tennessee State last year, the son of rapper and business mogul Master P – a net worth of $210 million, according to Forbes – was said to have had a multimillion-dollar NIL deal with a company technology company. Now, he’s taking his 137,000 Instagram followers to a school and a city that’s home to many big brands (including UPS, Papa John’s).
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6-0, guard, 17.4 PPG at Kansas State (2021-22)
Despite reports that Pack signed a $800,000 NIL contract with a company called LifeWallet – owned by storm booster John H. Ruiz — after he moved to Miami, the former Kansas State star told ESPN he wasn’t switching the show because of a potential business opportunity. But he also admits that the spotlight in the noisy city can help him shine, and on the court as well.
6-2, guard, 9.5 PPG at Saint Peter’s (2021-22)
The move to center may not have done much to Edert’s brand power, but he doesn’t need it as he will always be Saint Peter’s mustached star who helped the Peacocks. 2 in Kentucky and run to the Elite Eight in 2022. The star of last year’s most magical NCAA tournament story has cashed in on deals with the likes of Buffalo Wild Wings.
6-0, guard, 19.4 PPG at SMU (2021-22)
This season’s #1 transfer in men’s basketball, according to ESPN, could be the All-American for Penny Hardaway’s team in a city obsessed with college basketball. Before leaving Memphis for the NBA, Jalen Duren signed with major brands like audio giant Bose. A standout campaign for Davis would bring him similar contracts.
6-10, forward, 14.6 PPG at Northwestern (2021-22)
Nance arrived in North Carolina — last season’s national runner-up and a force in Michael Jordan’s Jordan Brand-powered college sports — with the opportunity to change his career on and off the field. New teammates Armando Bacot reportedly made over $500,000 in NIL money last season. Nance, son of former NBA star Larry Nance, could also have success on the open market with Tar Heels.
6-2, forward, 20.3 PPG at Mississippi State (2021-22)
A custom Dodge Charger, through a NIL deal with a local dealer, is just one of the perks of being one of the top transfers in college basketball. Jackson will find more business opportunities – including people buying for her clothes – in Knoxville.
6-2, guard, 8.5 PPG in Oregon (2021-22)
The former Ducks celebrity had a partnership with Barstool Sports and has added local deals with retailers in Bloomington since moving back to her state. Former Miss Basketball Indiana, Parrish’s regional and national business opportunities are guaranteed to grow, along with her 250,000 social media followers.
6-2, forward, 6.8 PPG at Notre Dame (2021-22)
With more than 150,000 followers on social media, Brunelle, who stayed at ACC with her commitment to Virginia, has struck deals with Kroger and the Wings Over fast food chain. She also has her own clothing store through Vintage Brands.
5-7, guard, 8.0 PPG at Mississippi State (2021-22)
Taylor has donated proceeds from sold-out basketball camps and her NIL deals with groups like backpack and luggage maker Solepack to the local Boys & Girls Club in Starkville. She will bring that spirit of philanthropy and pragmatism with her across the state this season.
6-2, forward, 11.3 PPG in West Virginia (2021-22)
For a fee, Martinez will do everything from answering questions via email to creating TikTok videos with you, from providing recruitment and transfer advice to promoting your business. She will even show up at your event. With a strong showing under coach Adia Barnes in Tucson, the price to reach her will increase.
6-1, guard, 7.5 PPG in Illinois (2021-22)
Injuries limited Curbelo to just 19 games last season. But the talent defender with more than 61,000 Instagram followers has now moved to the country’s biggest city to star in the Big East – along with a chance to get more NIL deals.
6-3, guard, 9.4 PPG in Texas (2021-22)
The former Texas standout player joins Tommy Lloyd’s team with the chance to become a star on the pitch. Arizona, also known as Point Guard U, is also perhaps the perfect destination for his development on the field and off the job.