Roc Nation Sports has the reputation of being able to get their clients opportunities both on and off the court. Sunday afternoon, former Red Raider and Roc Nation client, Zhaire Smith, found out first hand.
Rising 1st round Draft prospect Zhaire Smith has agreed to a multi-year footwear & apparel deal with PUMA.— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) June 17, 2018
The explosive wing measured a 41.5” vertical at the Combine, and ESPN’s @DraftExpress says Smith “could be the best athlete in the draft.” pic.twitter.com/gq5PP7o3J1
Puma is relaunching their basketball division and has been aggressively targeting draft prospects to bolster their initial roster. Marvin Bagley III made headlines Thursday, when he spurned Nike to go sign with Puma. Bagley’s deal with Puma is expected to be the highest rookie deal since Kevin Durant’s $8.5 million per year deal with Nike in 2007. Bagley’s signing was especially interesting given that Bagley had played for Nike AAU teams and signed with a Nike based university, and supposedly surrounded by Nike supporters, suggesting he would indeed sign with the shoe giant, but Puma’s deal seemed too good to pass up.
Smith, also played for a mid-level Nike AAU team, however ended up at Texas Tech, an Under Armour outfitted university. Smith’s ties to a shoe company were much looser giving him more freedom to pick the choice best suited for him.
Zhaire Smith and Marvin Bagley are the first two basketball players signed to Puma since Vince Carter in 1998. Puma’s future seems bright adding these high flyers to the roster.