By forgoing his senior year at the University of North Carolina (along with fellow Tar Heels Sean May, Rashad McCants, and Marvin Williams), Raymond Felton left himself eligible for more than just an NBA contract. In giving up his amateur status and going pro, Felton was free to reap the rewards of corporate sponsorship.
Electronic Arts was one of the first in line to sign the 20-year-old point guard, and today it announced that Felton will be the cover athlete for EA's NCAA March Madness 06.
"Joining the EA Sports team is a great way to cap off my college career," Felton said. "Growing up, I played EA Sports games all the time. And to now be the spokesman for NCAA March Madness 06 is incredible."
NCAA March Madness is expected to be released this fall on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. New to the game this year is the "lockdown stick," which puts more emphasis on defense.
"This year's game is all about forcing turnovers and pushing the ball up the floor to create fast-break offense," said ESPN's Dick Vitale, one of the voices of NCAA March Madness 06. "There was no player in college basketball last year who could get the ball up the court faster and use defense to create offense better than Raymond Felton."
Felton helped lead the Tar Heels to the school's fourth championship by defeating the University of Illinois Fighting Illini in the NCAA finals last April. He was named to the All-ACC first team, won the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard Award for best player at his position, and is expected to be drafted in the first half of the first round in the upcoming NBA Draft.