Cliff Omoruyi & Knight Society Raise $10k for Newark Salvation Army

Rutgers star center Cliff Omoruyi continues to have a strong impact off the court in his community, with his latest efforts being highlighted by The Knight Society, an organization founded by Rutgers’ greats Eric LeGrand & Geo Baker.

The Knight Society held an event at Tavern on George in New Brunswick to announce a $10,000 donation to The Salvation Army for its ‘Books & Basketball’ program at its West Side facility in Newark, where ‘Big Cliff’ volunteered this summer. It was the first event held by The Knight Society, started by Baker & LeGrand to build the Rutgers community while empowering Rutgers athletes, fans, alumni, & businesses. Baker & Omoruyi played two seasons together at Rutgers, and their time with The Knight Society has only brought them closer.

“It was a special feeling getting the chance to partner up with LearnToLead and Cliff to give back to those in need at the West Side Community Center,” said Baker. “Our goal at Knight Society is to build a strong community, so when we saw we had a chance to contribute to Cliff’s vision we wanted to jump right in. We hope this leads to more student athletes using their NIL for good causes and helping others.”

A total of $10,000 was donated to Cliff’s charity partner, the Salvation Army in Newark, NJ. The donation was made by LearnToLead, a local business owned by Dave Anderson.

Omoruyi has made a strong impact on the Books & Basketball program this summer & continues to grow his presence within the community. The big man recently agreed to an NIL deal with dessert chain 16 Handles, who agreed to make a $2500 donation to the Books & Basketball program in Omoruyi’s name.

“The “Big Cliff” nickname has taken on an added dimension,” said Robert Zito, IPZ Managing Partner. “”He’s not only “big” on the court and on campus, but he’s also doing big things in the community.”

800+ Pairs Of Shoes Donated To Shoe Drive Organized By Cliff Omoruyi

This past April, Rutgers star center Cliff Omoruyi organized a shoe drive to support his hometown of Benin City, Nigeria. The shoe drive was an instant success on campus.

Over 800 pairs of shoes were donated to Cliff’s shoe drive. Cliff’s brother runs a church in Benin City and will work with a local charity to distribute the shoes to those in an area who need them.
 
“I was thinking about when I was back home in Nigeria, it was hard for me to find my size,” Omoruyi said. “I wanted to do a giveaway for every kid who also has the dream of playing basketball just to help them out. Also, the less-fortunate people back home, I want to help them too. Getting (kids who love playing basketball) more shoes will be great for them.”

Rutgers Star Cliff Omoruyi Partners With 16 Handles

For 16 Handles, partnering with Cliff Omoruyi was a slam dunk.
 
16 Handles, New York City’s #1 soft serve & dessert brand, has decided to team up with the #1 dunk artist in college basketball. Founded in 2008 as the first self-serve frozen dessert shop in New York City, 16 Handles has grown to become one of the most recognizable dessert chains in the Northeast and beyond. The brand has locations throughout New Jersey, including one on Rutgers University’s Livingston Campus.
 
“We’re proud to make Cliff 16 Handles’ first NCAA athlete partner,” said Solomon Choi, founder and CEO of 16 Handles. “His ability to “handle it” on and off the court with his leadership, academic discipline, and community involvement is something we admire. This partnership is especially sweet given Cliff is the star center at Rutgers University—the home to 16 Handles’ first on-campus store location, and because it helps us to support community programs via the Salvation Army.”
 
Omoruyi, a rising junior at Rutgers University, led NCAA Division 1 in dunks last season and is set to be the focal point of the Rutgers offense this season. Cliff continues to have a strong impact within the Rutgers & New Jersey communities both on and off the court, and this partnership will help the big man promote both.
 
This summer, he has volunteered as a counselor at the “Books & Basketball” program at the Salvation Army’s Newark West Side gym.  16 Handles will make a contribution to the Salvation Army as part of the relationship.
 
As Cliff prepares for the upcoming season and returns to campus for his junior year, he will take his first step into the world of NIL partnerships with 16 Handles. Big Cliff will promote the 16 Handles brand on social media and plans to develop a “signature sundae” with the company.
 
“I smile every time I see a Rutgers student on campus enjoying a 16 Handles sundae,” said Cliff.  “Now, I’ll smile a little brighter!”
 
While NIL opportunities are available to college and high school athletes today, there is a grey area when it comes to student athletes attending U.S. colleges on F-1 Visas.  Those students, according to the law, are not allowed “to work” while in school.  Thus, the athletes must clearly show they are “not working” in signing brand endorsements.
 
“It certainly makes it more complicated for students on F-1 Visas,” said IPZ Managing Partner Robert Zito. “We will continue to work with Cliff, Rutgers, and brands to find ways to make this work.”
 
Along with social media promotion, Omoruyi will make an appearance at the 16 Handles location on the RU campus this semester, where he will share his signature sundae & interact with his fans.

Cliff Omoruyi Named 20th Most Influential Person In NJ Sports

Rutgers star center Cliff Omoruyi was named the 20th most influential person in New Jersey sports in a recent article by Steve Politi of nj.com.
 
Big Cliff was included on the website’s “Juice List” because of the impact he will have on the court for the Scarlet Knights in the 2022-23 season, but also because of the impact he continues to have off the court for his community both in New Jersey & in his hometown of Benin City, Nigeria. The article highlighted the shoe drive that Cliff organized in April, which resulted in hundreds of pairs of shoes being donated and sent to Benin City.
 
When asked about his motive behind the shoe drive, Omoruyi said, “I wanted to do a giveaway for every kid who also has the dream of playing basketball just to help them out. Also, the less-fortunate people back home, I want to help them too. Getting (kids who love playing basketball) more shoes will be great for them.”
 
Big Cliff is ready to make his biggest impact on the court yet. Politi wrote “As Rutgers basketball is losing its two stars from its back-to-back NCAA Tournament teams, the future will center on the center.” Cliff is set to be the focal point of the Rutgers offense and is ready for the challenge.
 
The big man is ready to use his influence to lead his team to a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance that goes deep into March. Cliff was named to the Juice List along with the likes of Phil Murphy, Joe Schoen, Brian Daboll, Sydney McLaughlin, and Steve Pikell. After getting this recognition, Cliff is ready to back it up with a big 2022-23 season.

Rutgers Star Clifford “Big Cliff” Omoruyi Signs with IPZ for NIL Representation 

Clifford “Big Cliff” Omoruyi, a 6’11″ student athlete at Rutgers University, has signed with IPZ under the NCAA’s NIL rules. 

Omoruyi, a sophomore, is the starting center on the Rutgers University Men’s Basketball team. This past season, Big Cliff led NCAA Division 1 basketball in dunks, while averaging 11 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. 

Omoruyi is originally from Benin City, Nigeria, and came to New Jersey as a 14-year- old seeking an education and a college degree. Basketball was a tool that he hoped would help him achieve his goal. He began his high school career at Queen of Peace (North Arlington) and ended it by leading Roselle Catholic to a 22-7 record and an NJSIAA Non-Public B North title in a season that was cut short due to the Covid shutdown.

Omoruyi was a consensus four-star prospect in high school and became the first New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year to commit to Rutgers University. He was also the first top-50 High School prospect to commit to Rutgers since 2010. In the 2020-21 season he became the first Rutgers freshman since 2008 to record a double-double in his debut, while, in the classroom, making the Dean’s List for academic excellence.

In 2021 the NCAA officially announced a new NIL policy that allows athletes to be compensated for their name, image, and likeness. However, the law remains unclear as it translates to international students in the United States on F-1 student visas.

Prominent New Jersey attorney Peter Till has been engaged to navigate the complexity of the F-1 student visa issues as it relates to Cliff and other New Jersey and United States college athletes.

“‘This law firm could not be prouder to preserve and protect all of Cliff’s opportunities that are only available in America,” said Till. “There is a clear and unmistakable reason why so many students come to these shores because of the unparalleled opportunities for greatness that can only happen in this country. We will seek and explore every opportunity to obtain the benefits of hard work available to student athletes today, including the foreign student-athletes who are unquestionably and utterly accomplished on behalf of their respective colleges and universities.”

“I sincerely appreciate the work that IPZ and Mr. Till are doing on my behalf,” said Cliff Omoruyi. “I know that they have met with Rutgers and that my school is supportive. I hope to have the ability to use my personality, knowledge, work as a student in the classroom and my basketball acumen to help brands in New Jersey…the United States…and the world.”