Top 10 Highest Paid College Basketball Players
In June 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA was no longer allowed to prevent education-related payments to students, which changed college sports forever. This paved the way for NIL deals, which allowed college athletes to profit on their own name, image, and likeness through endorsements and brand deals. A combination of a strong social media following off the court, and good play on the court can result in players receiving millions of dollars in NIL deals per season. In this list we examine the top 10 highest paid college basketball players as of February 2023.
Who Are the Highest-Paid College Basketball Players Right Now?
- Hansel Enmanuel
- Shaqir O'Neal
- Jalen Wilson
- Drew Timme
- Trayce Jackson-Davis
- Hanna Cavinder
- Haley Cavinder
- Paige Bueckers
- Zach Edey
- Ąžuolas Tubelis
1. Hansel Enmanuel
Hansel Enmanuel is the highest-earning college basketball player with an NIL value of $1.5 million. Enmanuel, who was born with no left arm, is from the Dominican Republic and attends Northwestern State University. He amassed 1.6 million Instagram followers, and 2.7 million TikTok followers, much from his high school basketball highlight videos going viral. Fans across the world were inspired by Enmanuel’s story as well as his ridiculous athletic ability. Enmanuel has deals with major companies such as Adidas, Gatorade, T-Mobile, and Dreamer. He famously appeared in commercials for Gatorade and in a commercial for rapper J. Cole’s “Dreamer” collaboration with Puma.
2. Shaqir O'Neal
Shaqir O’Neal is one of the highest earning college basketball players with an NIL value of $1.1 million. Son of legendary NBA center, Shaquille O’Neal, Shaqir is a freshman at Texas Southern University. O’Neal has amassed 3.6 million followers on TikTok, and 932,000 followers on Instagram. O’Neal most notably has an endorsement with clothing brand boohooMAN and Capital One. O’Neal is mostly a rotation player towards the end of the Texas Southern bench.
3. Jalen Wilson
Jalen Wilson is a forward for the Kansas University Jayhawks men’s basketball team, who has an NIL value of $914,000. Wilson has been a star for the Jayhawks, averaging 11.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in his freshman season. In his sophomore season, he led the Jayhawks to a National Championship win. Wilson has signed NIL deals with Legacy Restaurant Group, MiniJerzeys, Charlie Hustle, Rally House, and Family Promise.
4. Drew Timme
Drew Timme is a star forward for the Gonzaga Bulldogs men’s basketball team, who has an NIL value of $912,000. He is in his senior season at Gonzaga, and has had quite the career with the Bulldogs. Timme is a two-time Second-Team All-American, a two-time First-Team All-WCC selection, and the 2022 WCC Player of the Year. He has deals with Dollar Shave Club, Walker’s Furniture, Goli Nutrition, and Preediction.
5. Trayce Jackson-Davis
Trayce Jackson-Davis is a senior forward for the Indiana Hoosiers, who has an NIL value of $886,000. He was a highly touted prospect out of high school, being named to the McDonald’s All-American Team. In his junior season at Indiana, Wilson was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team and the Second-Team All-Big Ten Team. He has deals with Adidas, Campus Ink, Merchants Bank of Indiana, Turnstone Center, and Push Paddle or Pedal.
6. Hanna Cavinder
Hanna Cavinder is the highest earning women’s NCAA basketball player, with an NIL value of $846,000. Cavinder is a senior point guard at the University of Miami. She has amassed 4.7 million followers across all social media, making her the most followed college basketball athlete. Her 4.2 million TikTok followers makes her one of the most popular college athletes in the United States. Cavinder has endorsement deals with Under Armour, Raising Cane’s, Intuit TurboTax, and Victoria's Secret PINK.
7. Haley Cavinder
Haley Cavinder is one of the highest earning college basketball players with an NIL value of $842,000. Just like her twin sister Hanna, Haley is a senior point guard at the University of Miami. She also has 4.2 million TikTok followers, making her one of the most followed collegiate athletes in the United States. Haley, like her sister, has endorsement deals with Under Armour, Raising Cane’s, Intuit TurboTax, and Victoria's Secret PINK.
8. Paige Bueckers
Paige Bueckers is one of the highest earning college basketball players, with an NIL value of $822,000. Bueckers, a junior, is a star guard at the University of Connecticut. She has 1 million followers on Instagram, 465,000 on TikTok, and 77,000 on Twitter. She is expected to be a top pick in the WNBA Draft, whenever she declares. She is currently recovering from a torn ACL. Bueckers has endorsement deals with Crocs, Nerf, Bose, Gatorade, and StockX.
9. Zach Edey
Zach Edey, a center for the Purdue Boilermakers, is another of the highest-earning college basketball players, with an NIL value of $811,000. Edey, a junior, currently has 28,000 followers on Instagram, 325 on TikTok, and 6,300 on Twitter. Edey currently has NIL deals with Purdue, who have released merchandise with his number and made him a member of the Boilermaker Alliance, but he does not have any other current NIL deals.
10. Ąžuolas Tubelis
Ąžuolas Tubelis is a Lithuanian-born player who currently plays for the Arizona Wildcats as a junior power forward and has an NIL value of $787,000. With 10,500 followers on Instagram, 31,000 on TikTok, and 1,100 on Twitter, he is currently part of the Arizona Assist Club. While he has no NIL deals currently, his growing value will likely ensure that he receives some prominent deals in the future.
Emoni Bates is one of the highest earning college basketball players, with an NIL value of $657,000. Bates is a 6’10 small forward and was the fifth best player in the recruiting class of 2021. Bates originally committed to Michigan State, then rescinded his commitment to attend Memphis. Bates was dismissed from Memphis following legal troubles and now finds himself at Eastern Michigan. Bates has been compared to all time great players such as Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Bates has 501,000 followers across all social media.
Flau'jae Johnson is one of the highest earning college basketball players, with an NIL value of $612,000. Johnson is a freshman standout, combo-guard, at Louisiana State University. She has 1.2 million followers across all platforms. Johnson has endorsement deals with HighlightHER, Puma, Meta, Taco Bell, and POWERHANDZ. Johnson is also a rapper who announced her commitment to LSU in her own song.
Hailey Van Lith
Hailey Van Lith is one of the highest earning college basketball players, with an NIL value of $526,000. Van Lith, who is a junior point guard at Louisville, is known as one of the best college basketball players in the nation. She has 763,000 followers across all platforms, including 673,000 on Instagram. Van Lith has endorsement deals with Adidas, 94 Feet of Game App, Billionaire Girls Club, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation.
Amari Bailey is one of the highest earning college basketball players, with an NIL value of $520,000. Bailey was a top prospect in the 2022 class. As a five star recruit Bailey chose UCLA over a multitude of other schools. The 6’5 point guard is expected to be a future first round NBA Draft pick. Bailey has 567,000 followers on Instagram, commanding a large social media presence. Bailey is signed to Roc Nation Sports, and so far has just one deal with Ethika.
Mia Mastrov is one of the highest earning college basketball players, with an NIL value of $375,000. Mastrov is a sophomore guard at the University of California. She has 687,000 followers on TikTok and 382,000 followers on Instagram, commanding one of the biggest social media followings in all of college sports. Mastrov has deals with Neutrogena, Afterpay, and Quizlet.
Who is the highest-paid college basketball player?
Hansel Enmanuel is the highest earning college basketball player with an NIL value of $1.5 million. Enmanuel famously has commercials with both Gatorade, and J. Cole’s Puma collaboration named “Dreamer.”