SEC Freshman of the Year Mikaylah Williams inks NIL deal with Jordan Brand

On3 imageby:Pete Nakos03/22/24

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Ahead of Friday afternoon’s NCAA Tournament opener, LSU guard Mikaylah Williams inked an NIL deal with the Jordan Brand.

The SEC Freshman of the Year becomes the third women’s college/high school basketball athlete to sign with the Jumpman brand. Williams joins UCLA freshman Kiki Rice and Rutgers commit Kiyomi McMiller along with WNBA stars Crystal DangerfieldDearica Hamby and Rhyne Howard. Full details of the contract were not disclosed.

“Signing with Jordan Brand allows me to inspire young girls and contribute to the growth of women’s basketball,” Williams said in a statement.

Viewed as one of the top recruits in the 2023 class next to USC star Juju Watkins, Williams was an immediate contributor this season starting 29 of the 30 games she has played in the year. She dropped 42 points in her fourth game at LSU against Kent State, the most ever in program history in the NCAA era.

LSU primed to defend NCAA Tournament title

Williams enters March Madness averaging 14.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and three assists per game. The guard from Bossier City, La., has scored more than 20 points in seven games this year and has one double-double.

LSU is a No. 3 seed in Albany Region 2 and tips off its tournament run at 4 p.m. ET against No. 14 seed Rice in Baton Rouge. Signing with the Jordan Brand is not her first foray into NIL. Repped by Family First, the freshman has signed partnerships with Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys, Raising Cane’s and Dove. The two-time Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year earned MVP honors at the 2022 and 2023 FIBA 3×3 World Cup.

Williams missed three games late in the season, nursing plantar fasciitis. She returned for the SEC Tournament and has been practicing with the team in the two weeks since the Tigers’ loss in the conference finals.

“This will be her first shot at a playoff game,” LSU head coach Kim Mulkey said this week. “Hopefully she’ll be excited and have those butterflies and then do what she does, and that’s play basketball.”

Nike, Jordan Brand continuing to expand in NIL

While some brands dove headfirst into the NIL landscape, other brands went into wait-and-see mode. In a new marketplace, companies were not sure what the return on investment would look like.

Nike was one of the those brands – until October 2022. The sportswear and sneaker giant made a statement that fall, signing Bronny JamesCaitlin ClarkHaley JonesDJ Wagner and Juju Watkins. A collection of college and high school talent, each athlete has the potential to be a star in either the NBA or WNBA.

Weeks later, the Jordan Brand followed up by signing Kiki Rice. SEC Freshman of the Year Mikaylah Williams has now become the latest to sign with the brand. LSU is a Nike school. Air Jordan has partnerships with seven colleges: Florida, Houston, Howard, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma and UCLA.