Caitlin Clark and Cameron Brink, Two Women’s College Basketball Stars With NIL Sneaker Deals, Earn Coveted Naismith Awards

With March Madness underway, two of women’s college basketball’s brightest stars — Caitlin Clark and Cameron Brink — earned coveted 2024 Naismith Awards.

Clark, the star of the Iowa Hawkeyes, was named the 2024 Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year. This is her second straight season winning the the Women’s College Player of the Year award, making her the eighth women’s player to win in consecutive seasons and the 10th to earn the award multiple times.

More from Footwear News

“To be a two-time recipient of the Naismith Trophy is truly humbling,” Clark said in a statement. “Being selected as this season’s honoree is truly special with the number of talented and skilled players across the country. I want thank my family, coaches and teammates who helped me get to this point.”

Stanford Cardinal standout Brink earned 2024 Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year honors. She was also a finalist for the Women’s College Player of the Year award.

“It’s an incredible honor to be named the 2024 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year,” Brink said in a statement. “It may be an individual award, but it’s a testament to all the people who have poured into me, not only this season but throughout my career at Stanford — my family, coaches, teammates, and friends. I wouldn’t be where I am without them, and I am extremely grateful for all their love and support.”

Aside from the Naismith awards, both Clark and Brink have something else in common: high-profile name, image and likeness (NIL) sneaker deals.

Nike announced it had signed Clark in October 2022 alongside several other young basketball stars, most notably LeBron James’ son, Bronny James, and JuJu Watkins, who signed while in high school and now plays college basketball for USC.

As for Brink, she signed a NIL deal with New Balance in October 2023. With the deal, Brink became the first-ever woman basketball player New Balance had signed.

Aside from Clark and Brink, South Carolina Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley also earned an award. For the second consecutive season and fourth time in the last five years, Staley was named the 2024 Naismith Werner Ladder Women’s Coach of the Year.

Staley, too, has ties to the shoe world, having entered into a partnership with active recovery footwear brand Oofos in March 2022.

About the Author

Peter Verry is the Senior News and Features Editor for Athletic and Outdoor at Footwear News. He oversees coverage of the two fast-paced and ultracompetitive markets, which includes conducting in-depth interviews with industry leaders and writing stories on sneakers and outdoor shoes. He is a lifelong sneaker addict (and shares his newest purchases via @peterverry on Instagram) and spends most of his free time on a trail. He holds an M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University and can be reached at

Best of Footwear News

Sign up for FN's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.