The NCAA’s March Madness is always an exciting time of year, with college basketball players giving their all on the court in the hopes of securing a spot in the history books. But in recent years, there’s been a new twist: the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rules have changed the game. So, let’s dive into the madness and check the top-ten most valuable players in the NCAA tournament by NIL value.
No longer just amateur athletes, these players can now cash in on their own brands, and that means the stakes are higher than ever before. We’re talking about student-athletes who can now land big bucks for everything from social media posts to endorsements.
With the most valuable college basketball players of March Madness 2023, we’re looking at more than just their scoring ability or clutch performances – we’re talking about their star power, their influence, and their ability to captivate audiences both on and off the court.
To evaluate the college basketball players’ NIL value, we are using On3’s NIL valuation. This gives us a projected NIL value for the player for up to the next year.
Top-10 Most Valuable Players in the NCAA Tournament by NIL Value
Click to jump to a player on the top-10 list:
- Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky — $915,000
- Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana — $885,000
- Zach Edey, Purdue — $813,000
- Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona — $786,000
- Jalen Wilson, Kansas — $636,000
- Drew Timme, Gonzaga — $626,000
- Gradey Dick, Kansas — $561,000
- Amari Bailey, UCLA — $550,000
- Kyle Filipowski, Duke — $546,000
- Marcus Sasser, Houston — $541,000
Let’s take a closer look at the high-earning young guns getting ready to star in March Madness.
Oscar Tshiebwe was the SEC Player of the Year, AP Player of the Year, Naismith Award Winner, and a consensus All-American in the 2021/22 season. Last year, he averaged 17.4 points and 15.2 rebounds a game in his first year at Kentucky after transferring from West Virginia. That fine form has continued into this year where he is averaging around 16 points and 13 rebounds a game.
His game on the court has earned him a big social media following. Tshiebwe has over 130,000 followers between his Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. However, the 6-foot-9 forward from the Congo is at a slight disadvantage when it comes to NIL, because he’s limited to what he can do while in the United States on his student visa.
While he can sign sponsorship deals, he is not allowed to get paid for personal appearances. But during the Wildcats’ preseason tour to the Bahamas, Tshiebwe was free of all restrictions and the big man cashed in. It is believed that on that trip, Tshiebwe earned in the region of $500,000 through personal appearances and sponsorship deals.
Oscar Tshiebwe, with his student visa, cannot fully participate in NIL opportunities unless he’s outside of the U.S.
— The Athletic CBB (@TheAthleticCBB) August 10, 2022
Tshiebwe has already bought his mother a five-bedroom house in the DR Congo and has established a charity for children in his homeland from his NIL earnings.
With a NIL value of $915,000, Tshiebwe is the most valuable player at the NCAA tournament.
Second on the most valuable players at the NCAA tournament by NIL value is Trayce Jackson- Davis of Indiana. A former McDonald’s American, Jackson-Davis was recently named as a 2023 First-Team All-American.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 11, 2023
The 6-foot-9, 245 lbs forward is heading into March Madness averaging a double-double on the season. His 20.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game lead the way for the Hoosiers as they look to go deep in the tournament.
TJD signed an NIL deal with Adidas back in 2022, but he also has several other deals of note. He has a couple of NIL deals through the Hoosier for Good Collective, as well as Pennzoil and Campus Ink.
The former Indiana Mr. Basketball will be keen to boost his value and get more eyes on him as he and the Hoosiers look to bulldozer their way through the NCAA tournament field.
At 7-foot-4, Zach Edey is one of the biggest men in college basketball. However, even off-court, the Canadian-born Edey is becoming a big name. He is the tallest player to ever play in the Big Ten and is another player on this list averaging a double-double this year.
— Purdue Men's Basketball (@BoilerBall) March 7, 2023
Edey recently inked a deal with Campus Ink and they created a Zach Edey hockey jersey. Edey’s mother famously wore a handmade hockey jersey to a Boilermaker game which led to this creation.
It’s highly probable that Zach Edey will be one of the most discussed players at March Madness, considering his impressive stats of 22.3 points and 12.8 rebounds per game this season, as well as his size. Additionally, the fact that Purdue has secured a one-seed in the tournament further enhances his potential for attention and recognition.
Edey has earned numerous accolades this season, including being named SN Player of the Year, First-team All-American, First-team All-Big Ten, and receiving the title of Big Ten Player of the Year.
All of this means Edey makes our most valuable players at March Madness list in third.
Another big man makes our list at four in the shape of 6-foot-11 power forward Azuolas Tubelis of the Arizona Wildcats. A big performance in the Pac-12 tournament saw Tubelis take home the tournament’s most outstanding player award and the conference finals MVP. Additionally, he is a two-time All Pac-12 player and second-team All-American.
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) March 12, 2023
His performances over the past few couple of weeks have really boosted his NIL value as the NCAA tournament approaches.
Arizona is a two-seed in the tournament and Tubelis is another one that could benefit from the attention of a long March Madness run. He currently projects as a late second-round NBA draft pick, but with all eyes on him come tournament time, a chance to shine could bolster his draft stock and future earnings even more.
Jalen Wilson is the first of two Kansas players that make the most valuable NIL players in the NCAA tournament list. And it is surprising that the talented forward is this far down the list.
Wilson was a key part of the Jayhawks team that won the National Championship in 2022. In 2023, he has gone on to become a First-Team All-American, and the Big 12 Player of the Year.
Jalen Wilson – The *Unanimous* Player of the Year 👑
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) March 11, 2023
Wilson boasts a popular social media following of over 200,000 followers between his Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok accounts. His wide reach, college basketball accolades and the help of Kansas Collective, all help his NIL value, which is currently at over $600,000.
With late first-round NBA talent, companies are keen to get Wilson on board early, and with top US sportsbooks ranking Kansas among the favorites for the NCAA tournament, he could be another student-athlete cashing in even further with a deep run in March Madness.
Drew Timme is a force to be reckoned with on the court, and his impressive play has earned him recognition both on and off the court. The 6-foot-10 forward is averaging 20.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, and he’s been a key player in Gonzaga’s success this season. However, Timme is no one-season wonder, he is now Gonzaga’s all-time leading points scorer.
Timme has already signed deals with companies like Beats by Dre, Dollar Shave Club, and Boost Mobile. His current NIL value is estimated at $626,000.
Gonzaga star Drew Timme has signed an NIL deal with Dollar Shave Club, becoming the "World's First Chinfluencer" 🪒 pic.twitter.com/vsaGEyhuvX
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) March 11, 2022
Timme has also earned several accolades this season, including being named a First-Team All-American, the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, and making the First-Team All-WCC. With his strong performance on the court and growing popularity off the court, Timme is sure to be a player to watch during March Madness.
Espn announcers wilding saying gradey dick is wet lmao pic.twitter.com/YYy70cO2R6
— John (@iam_johnw) February 25, 2023
Gradey Dick is one of the youngest players on this list, but he has already made a name for himself in the college basketball world. The 6-foot-5 guard was a McDonald’s All-American in 2022 and the Gatorade National Player of the Year in the same year.
This season, as a freshman at Kansas, Dick has continued to impress. He has been named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team and the Big 12 All-Freshman Team, as well as receiving Second-Team All-Big 12 honors. Also adding to Dick’s NIL value is his potential to be a lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Off the court, Dick has a strong social media presence and has over 320,000 followers across social media. He has already signed several NIL deals, including partnerships with Adidas and Beats by Dre. His NIL value is currently estimated at $561,000, making him one of the most valuable college basketball players at March Madness 2023.
With his impressive play and growing popularity, Gradey Dick has the potential to be a valuable asset for companies looking to partner with college athletes. He is a player to watch both on and off the court as March Madness 2023 approaches.
Amari Bailey is a rising star for UCLA, and he’s already caught the attention of scouts and companies alike. The 2021 California Mr. Basketball is averaging 10.6 points per game, but it’s his athleticism and potential that have earned him a spot on this list. Bailey has already signed a deal with California lifestyle brand Ethika and his NIL value is estimated at $550,000.
Amari Bailey dropped 26 points in a win for UCLA last night 🔥 pic.twitter.com/2ESGlvb0ji
— Courtside Films (@CourtsideFilms) March 10, 2023
Bailey is also one of the youngest players on this list, and his future potential is a big part of his marketability. Also adding to his NIL value are his 566,000 social media followers. With his impressive athleticism and growing social media following, Bailey is a player to watch in the coming years.
Kyle Filipowski is a highly-touted freshman for Duke, and he’s already shown that he can perform at a high level. He has been absolutely crushing it late in the season, becoming a three-level scorer and a monster on the glass.
Kyle Filipowski getting it done on BOTH ENDS for Duke 😤
— ACC Network (@accnetwork) March 12, 2023
The 6-foot-11 forward is averaging 15.4 points and 9 rebounds per game, and he’s been a key player in Duke’s success this season. Filipowski has signed a deal with Cuts Clothing, but it’s the potential of the big man that will have caught the attention of companies.
As a freshman, Filipowski has plenty of potential to grow both as a player and as a marketable athlete. With his strong performance on the court, he has the potential to be a valuable asset for companies in the future.
Marcus Sasser rounds out our top-ten most valuable players at the NCAA tournament. He is a talented guard for Houston, and he’s proven to be a valuable asset for the team. Sasser is averaging 17.1 points per game this season, and he’s been a key player in Houston’s success.
He has already signed deals with company like the famous Mattress Mack’s furniture company, Gallery Furniture, and Athletic Brewing. He also recently posted a Bose video, which could potentially be another company he is working with.
— Marcus Sasser (@m_sasser0) March 13, 2023
Sasser has also earned several accolades this season, including being named to the First-Team All-AAC and the AAC All-Tournament Team.
As the NCAA tournament looms closer, all eyes are on the talented guard for the Houston Cougars. Sasser’s excellent performances on the court, coupled with his burgeoning popularity off the court, have put him in the spotlight as another player to watch during March Madness.
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