by Ben Osborne

Just got the following from our friends at Under Armour. In its own way, signing with Under Armour is as radical as going to Europe. In both cases, we respect his individuality and wish him the best. We’ll have a lot more on Brandon in the mag and on the site during the season.

UNDER ARMOUR SIGNS PHENOM BRANDON JENNINGS

Jennings, the First High School Basketball Player to Bypass College to Play Professionally in Europe, Forms Landmark Partnership with Under Armour

Baltimore, MD (September 24, 2008) – Under Armour (NSYE:UA) announced today a multi-year partnership with basketball phenom, Brandon Jennings. The newly formed relationship reinforces Under Armour’s mission to become the world’s number one performance athletic brand and underscores its growing commitment to the sport of basketball.

The signing of Jennings comes on the heels of the brand’s recent announcement that it would outfit the University of Maryland mens’ and women’s basketball teams head-to-toe next year. Under Armour also sponsored the third annual Boost Mobile Elite 24 high school basketball showcase this past summer as well as the sponsorship of the Capital Classic last April.

Jennings, widely regarded as one of the most electrifying and charismatic point guards in the nation, is making history as the first U.S. high school player to immediately pursue a professional basketball career overseas before becoming eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft. Jennings recently signed with Pallacanestro Virtus Roma of the Italian pro league.

“We are proud to welcome Brandon Jennings as the first Under Armour basketball athlete,” said Kevin Plank, Under Armour, Chairman and CEO. “He is an extremely talented and fearless player with the skill set to become a game-changer internationally. Brandon’s attitude and his dedication to hard-work make him the ideal athlete to represent the Under Armour brand.”

As the most prolific single-season scorer in the history of basketball powerhouse, Oak HillAcademy, Jennings averaged 35.5 points, 7.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game in his senior year of high school. His on-court performance earned him a number of high school basketball’s most prestigious awards including the 2008 Naismith High School Basketball Player of the Year, 2007-08 Gatorade Player of the Year – Virginia, 2008 Parade Magazine Player of the Year and 2008 EA Sports Player of the Year. In addition, he led his 2006-2007 team to a 42-0 record and a No. 1 ranking in the USA Today Super 25 national rankings.

“I am extremely excited to be the first athlete selected to represent Under Armour Basketball,” said Jennings. I’ve always prided myself on being one step ahead of the pack and true to my beliefs like my journey to play professionally in Europe. I look forward to my role as a global ambassador for Under Armour basketball.”

“Brandon has the ability to perform at the highest levels and the personality to capture the imagination of the public,” said basketball advisor to Jennings, Sonny Vaccaro. He is without a doubt one of the most driven players that I have ever watched and by choosing to play in Europe as a high school player, he is doing what no other basketball player has ever done. This will go down in history as a landmark decision…. from Compton to Rome….Brandon Jennings did it first.”

In October 2008, Under Armour will launch a special Brandon Jennings blog on www.underarmour.com. The blog will allow fans the opportunity to follow Brandon’s experiences in Rome and his pursuit of his athletic goals.