WSU basketball players meet fans in first NIL event
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Wichita State basketball team was out at Riverfest on Sunday afternoon for fans to come to meet plenty of the new faces joining the Shockers this season. Fans had the opportunity to grab some autographs, talk to the players and even shoot around with the players on the street.
The event was the first Name, Image, and Likeness deal for Shocker basketball players under their new partnership with Armchair Strategies. The last time Eyewitness News spoke to Armchair, they said the partnership would provide compensation opportunities for players and have them give back to the community through events such as Sundays.
Some of the newest Shockers, like Southern Mississippi transfer Jaron Pierre Jr., got their taste of Wichita at the event.
“I’ve liked it. Riverfest is treating me right,” Pierre said. “Many signing autographs, it’s kind of new to me, but I like it. It’s kind of a new experience for me.”
One of the new shockers that made their ‘Wichita debut’ Sunday was Andover Central product Xavier Bell. Bell transferred to WSU after a stint at Drexel University. He said that being back near his hometown was a great feeling, and fans quickly welcomed him back.
“You can see it’s a lot of love, especially when we walked up,” Bell said. “Many kids that look up to us [are out here and] people who have been following the program for some years. Just kind of get to see their face and see’ them smile and meet them face to face.”
Shocker Point Guard Craig Porter Junior announced his return to Wichita State explicitly because of this partnership with Armchair Strategies. He said that athletes know that they can profit off their ability with the new rules in place, so why not take advantage?
“As college athletes, not everybody makes it to the NBA, obviously,” he said. “So getting these guys some extra money while they’re young and helping them build their money up is key.”
Craig says he was glad for the partnership because of compensation opportunities and for him and his teammates to be more driven to be out in the community.
“My first two years when I came in, we didn’t have too much interaction with the city besides just the fans,” he said. “So coming out to something like this, it’s a great experience.”
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