Indiana teammates Jalen Hood-Schifino and Trayce Jackson-Davis have both reached deals to become adidas NIL athletes, as On3NIL reported Tuesday. After signing 15 athletes in August, Adidas added five more college players to its roster this month, two of them being Hoosiers.
The other two players added to the adidas roster were five-star freshman Gradey Dick from Kansas and Northwestern State’s Hansel Enmanuel, who reached the Division I level despite losing an arm at the age of six.
While the specifics of the deal and ad campaign haven’t yet been announced, this is obviously a huge deal for the two players and Indiana as a whole. Indiana has always been one of the more valuable adidas brands in the country and this deal reflects a recognition of Indiana’s recent return to the national spotlight under Coach Mike Woodson.
Perhaps more significant though is the potential recruiting impact that these deals can have for Indiana. Not only is the program getting free press in fashion and culture outlets, like Nice Kicks, but Woodson can now point to this deal as the kind of thing awaiting elite players in their freshman season.
Both Hood-Schifino and fellow freshman Gradey Dick were 24/7 composite five star recruits out of high school, ranked 23 and 22 in their class respectively. After missing the last two with a back issue, Hood-Schifino has only played in seven games so far this year, which suggests that Adidas is investing in the future of these players based on their high school reputation.
If this all sounds like the exact thing that the FBI cracked down on a few years ago, that’s because it is, essentially. Except now it’s all legal and done in broad daylight.
Personally, I think this is cool as hell and really cannot think of a reason to be mad about these kinds of deals other than hating fun. adidas is treating the school like the elite basketball brand that it is, which can only help to solidify it as a destination for elite recruits.
I’ll miss the ominous bag-men that guys like Pitino seemingly always had around, but I’m glad Indiana is finally in a position to leverage its newfound national prominence with the full support of Adidas.
Now bring back the black football jerseys and I will have no complaints about Indiana’s relationship with the brand with the three stripes.