It is not often that someone that was cut from their High School Basketball team as a freshman goes on to play division one college basketball, let alone at a school to the pedigree of Penn State University. However, as he has done several times in his life, current Penn State guard Ishaan Jagiasi proved everyone that doubted him wrong. Not only is Ishaan a star on the court, he has also built up large social media fame with over 325,000 followers on his verified TikTok account and over 8,500 followers on his Instagram profile. This has led to many business opportunities for Ishaan as the NCAA allowed athletes to profit off their Name, Image, and Likeness last summer. According to head coach Micah Shrewsberry, “Ishaan is one of the dopest dudes I’ve ever been around in my life.” Although these are remarkable accomplishments, Jagiasi has had a journey that has been filled with highs and lows.
Before his basketball journey, Ishaan was crowned the 2014 Pokemon Trading Card Game National Champion and was ranked as the number one player in the world. According to Ishaan “It was a blessing to win honestly, a lot of people don’t get the chance to win things until later in life so getting to win a national championship at 14 years old showed me what it takes to win, if you put the work in you can achieve what you are working towards.” After this, Jagiasi embarked on the road to basketball which was a rough journey for him. After leaving his home town at 16 years old to go play for Prep School, Ishaan dealt with injuries which kept him sidelined for much of his travel team season in the 11th grade. Ishaan’s big break came when he got the opportunity to attend Huntington Prep for his senior year of highschool. Huntington Prep is one of the best basketball academies in the country, producing top level NBA talent such as Andrew Wiggins and Miles Bridges. There, Ishaan was able to show his talents in front of coaches which eventually led him to Penn State University.
Now, Jagiasi is going into his senior year of college basketball at Penn State and is looking forward to the season. With the following that Ishaan has built up he will be able to monetize for the remainder of the year, especially through his large TikTok following. When we asked Ishaan why he thinks that he was able to build a following, he replied “Honestly, I feel like people can relate to my content, most people weren’t that five star recruit that had a clear path to their goals. The majority were underdogs that had to compete for their spot and I believe that I illustrate that through my content.” The deals that NIL allows for have now become a business, especially when it comes to social media content. The Penn State Nittany Lions finished with a 14-17 record last season but we have learned to not count Ishaan out.