Washington Huskies paid record NIL deal for top transfer portal forward


Washington Huskies men’s basketball wasted little time hiring a new head coach after firing Mike Hopkins late in the season. The program identified Danny Sprinkle as their top candidate after his tremendous debut season leading Utah State, and the two sides agreed to a deal once the Aggies were eliminated in the round of 32 of the 2024 NCAA tournament.

With the program poised to jump to the Big Ten in the 2024-2025 season, Washington knew it needed a big splash in the transfer portal to go along with its new coaching hire. The Huskies only made the NCAA tournament once in Hopkins’ seven seasons, and had finished 50-46 overall over the last three years. This team wasn’t going to be competitive in the Big Ten without a major talent infusion, and Sprinkle found one with a little help from Washington’s NIL fund.

Great Osobor, Sprinkle’s best player at Utah State, committed to Washington over Louisville and Texas Tech. Osobor wasn’t going to commit to the Huskies just to follow his long-time head coach: Washington had to open up the checkbook to get him, and they did. Osobor signed a $2 million NIL deal with Washington, according to ESPN’s Jon Givony.

That’s a new NIL record for the transfer portal, at least for what’s publicly known.

The $2 million payment shatters the previous reported high for a player in the transfer portal this year. Indiana reportedly paid former Arizona center Oumar Ballo $1.2 million to land his commitment last month. John Calipari’s Arkansas Razorbacks reportedly offered former Florida Atlantic star Johnell Davis “north of $1 million” for his commitment.

Osobor waited out most of the commitments in the portal until teams were desperate. Ranked as the No. 7 overall player in the portal by 247 Sports, Osobor is the only uncommitted top-30 prospect who isn’t currently flirting with the NBA Draft. He was the top uncommitted player left on the board, and Washington made him an offer he couldn’t refuse to stay with Sprinkle.

Osobor started his college career at Montana State under Sprinkle in the 2021-2022 season as a little known recruit out of England. The 6’8 forward was a backup during his first two years with the Bobcats, but his physical play and impressive scoring efficiency made him seem like a mid-major star in waiting. When Sprinkle left for Utah State ahead of the 2023-2024 season, he brought Osobor with him, and he immediately transformed into one of college basketball’s best forwards.

Osobor averaged 17.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game on 60.4 percent true shooting during his one year at Utah State. The Aggies were excellent with Sprinkle and Osobor leading the way, finishing first in the Mountain West at 28-7 overall and 14-4 in conference, winning a game in the NCAA tournament, and ending the year ranked No. 22 in the final AP Poll.

Osobor isn’t a threat to shoot it from deep, but post scoring combined with his ability to operate dribble-handoffs makes him an ideal interior fulcrum for a college offense. He’s outstanding on the offensive glass to get easy points on putbacks, and teams often can’t help but send him to the foul line. While Osobor isn’t super quick laterally, he’s able to compete defensively by knowing where to be and not shying away from contact.

While it’s stunning to see a college player paid $2 million legally, Osobor can really use the money. This is a premium example of why the NIL is so good for players and can produce feel-good stories. Via ESPN:

Osobor, whose father is a taxi driver and mother is an elderly care giver, will have the opportunity to make life-altering money in his final year of college eligibility despite arriving in the United States with little fanfare and spending his first two seasons coming off the bench in the Big Sky Conference.

Washington has made some other great additions earlier in the offseason. Incoming freshman Zoom Diallo is a super fast guard who looks like a really intriguing long-term player, and Jase Butler is a talented four-star shooting guard. The rest of the transfer portal haul includes Jase Butler is a talented four-star shoting guard, Butler guard DJ Davis, and Rhode Island guard Luis Kortright.

Big Ten teams need a physical big man inside, and Osobor will be that for Washington. The entire team will revolve around his skill set. Washington had to pay up to land Osobor, and this will be a perfect arrangement for both the player and the team.





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