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Cierra Dillard Chooses IPZ

BUFFALO, N.Y. + WARREN, N.J., April 9, 2019 – Cierra Dillard, Dawn Staley Award Finalist and AP All-American Honorable Mention, has signed with IPZ, the company announced today.

Standing at five-foot-nine, the Rochester, New York native has made a considerable impact for the University of Buffalo Bulls the past two seasons leading them to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments.

Going into Dillard’s senior year, the guard landed on numerous watch lists: the Wade Trophy (for the best player in women’s basketball), the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award (for the nation’s top shooting guard), the Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch, and the Dawn Staley Award (for the country’s top guard), for which she is one of four finalists.

Dillard did not disappoint. She was the nation’s second leading scorer this past season as she averaged 25.2 points per game, a team-high 5.7 assists per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, and 2.9 steals per game. The Bulls won the 2019 MAC Tournament and Dillard was named MAC Tournament MVP. Dillard closed out her collegiate career in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament against the UCONN Huskies scoring 29 points, dishing seven assists, securing seven rebounds, and capturing three steals. Dillard earned AP All-American Honorable Mention honors and was named First Team All-MAC.

In Dillard’s junior year, she led the Bulls to their first ever Sweet 16 appearance. Ultimately, Buffalo fell to the defending National Champion South Carolina Gamecocks, but Dillard had a strong performance netting 29 points, six steals, six assists, and three rebounds. Dillard posted a 2017-18 stat line of 16.2 points/game, 5.2 assists/game, 4.1 rebounds/game, and 3.0 steals/game. She was named Second Team All-MAC and earned MAC All-Tournament Team honors.

Prior to becoming a Buffalo Bull, Dillard played for the University of Massachusetts Minutewomen. In her sophomore year, Dillard averaged 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.0 steals in 30.3 minutes per game. As a freshman, she posted 10.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per contest.

Dillard amassed 2,205 career points across her stops with Massachusetts and the Bulls. Dillard finished her Buffalo career with a scoring average of 20.6 points per game over two seasons, a new program record, and currently ranks in the top five on the UB career records list in points (5th – 1,422), free throws made (3rd – 362), free throw percentage (3rd – 80.8%), three point field goals made (4th – 190) and three point field goals attempted (4th – 554).

“I’m excited to start my new journey of playing professional basketball,” said Dillard. “I’m thrilled about how great my amateur years were and I know if I work hard and stay dedicated, I will continue to reap God’s blessings in my professional career as well. I am also happy to be represented by IPZ, as they believe in my dreams both on and off the court. They understand my vision for my career and I’m confident they will do a great job helping and advising me every step of the way. They are passionate about helping their clients in their respective professional fields and want them to be the best they can be; I’m grateful and blessed to work together.”

“Cierra is one of the purest scorers I’ve ever seen,” said Kyrsten Van Natta, IPZ’s WNBA Agent. “Watching her play is like watching poetry in motion. She knows how to get herself open from anywhere on the court and her passes are something else…they’ve been on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 multiple times. She is simply fun to watch. It’s been a pleasure getting to know Cierra as a person off the court, too, and I look forward to working with her as she embarks on her professional career.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

Chris Silva Signs with IPZ

COLUMBIA, S.C. + WARREN, N.J., April 4, 2019 – Chris Silva, two-time First Team All-SEC and All-Defensive Team selection at the University of South Carolina, has signed with IPZ, Silva and the company announced today.

The six-foot-nine forward hails from Libreville, Gabon and his journey to America has been well-chronicled. He played high school basketball in the United States for Roselle Catholic in New Jersey and won the 2013 Tournament of Champions with the Lions.

The South Carolina Gamecocks made a historic NCAA Tournament run to the Final Four in 2017, due, in large part, to Chris Silva. As a sophomore, Silva had a breakout season: he started all 37 games and averaged 10.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, and a team-high 1.4 blocks in 21.0 minutes per game. In the matchup against top-seeded Gonzaga, in South Carolina’s first ever Final Four appearance, Silva scored 13 points and secured 13 rebounds.

Silva continued to improve as an upperclassman and was crowned SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year for the 2017-18 campaign. Additionally, he was selected to the First Team All-SEC and All-Defensive Team in back-to-back seasons.

He also led the Gamecocks in multiple categories in his junior and senior years with, in his junior year, 14.3 points per game, 8.0 rebounds per game, 1.4 blocks per game, and he shot 46.7% from the field. In his senior year, Silva’s team leading figures included averaging 15.2 points/game, 7.6 rebounds/game, 1.9 blocks/game, with a field goal percentage of 50.8%, including 50% from three-point range.

Silva was recently named to the NABC All-District Second Team for his final season as a Gamecock.

“It was clear to all those who watched South Carolina’s games this season that Chris was the emotional and physical leader of the team, and one of the best players in the SEC,” said Robert Zito, Managing Partner of IPZ. “His relationship with his coach and teammates as a student, leader, and teammate was evident.”

Silva is the only player in the history of South Carolina’s program to record at least 700 rebounds and 500 free throws in his career. He earned multiple academic honors as a student-athlete and will graduate this year with a degree in IT.

“I am so appreciative of the opportunity the coaching staffs in high school and college – and all my teammates – gave me and I look forward to the road ahead with the team at IPZ,” said Silva.

“In 34 years of coaching, I don’t think I’ve had a player work as hard as Chris Silva to get better,” said Frank Martin, Head Basketball Coach at South Carolina. “He is an unbelievable young man of tremendous character who is a really really good basketball player.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

Lou Fusz Athletic To Offer Naming Rights For Complex

ST. LOUIS, March 14, 2019 – Lou Fusz Athletic (LFA) will offer the naming rights to its complex, one of the most visited athletic facilities in the Midwest, the organization announced today.

Approximately 1.2 million people visit LFA’s facilities annually and this number is continually growing. LFA is home to hundreds of teams and thousands of camp participants, between the ages of five and 18, across multiple sports, with family members of all ages in attendance to watch. LFA also hosts numerous soccer and lacrosse tournaments throughout the year which bring nearly 100,000 families from the greater St. Louis area to its facilities.

The Lou Fusz Athletic Training Center at Rams Park, the former home of the St. Louis Rams, is a 300,000 square foot facility and acts as the hub for all LFA teams, tournaments, and camps. With its state-of-the-art indoor fields, outdoor fields, and amenities, such as strength/speed/agility training rooms, a weight room, a rehab and physical therapy room, and an auditorium for presentations, the LFA Training Center receives visitors year-round.

“As a club, this facility reminds us every day of the professional nature of our approach,” said Dan Gargan, Managing Director of LFA, and a 10-year MLS veteran. “It has been home to world class athletes who showed up every day to better their craft. We connect our core values to that approach and work every day to enhance the lives of the athletes and families we serve.”

“This facility offers one of the most attractive family environments in the country,” said Robert Zito, Managing Partner of IPZ, who will manage the marketing process. “There is a tremendous opportunity here for a local or national brand to build equity, as the continued growth of Lou Fusz Athletic and its exciting vision for the future of the club and facility will only add to its attractiveness.”

About Lou Fusz Athletic 

Lou Fusz Athletic (“LFA”) is a 501(c)3 youth sports club and the charitable arm of the Lou Fusz Automotive Network. LFA’s objective is to align you with unique touch-points of the club’s family of players and fans through various branding opportunities and events.

About IPZ

IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

New GM? Dave Weighs In

Time will tell.

OK – you’ve heard that one before.

But it’s especially fitting when taking a look at Brodie Van Wagenen being named the New York Mets’ new General Manager.

So we decided to talk with our baseball guy, Dave Pepe, about his thoughts.

Dave is no slouch to baseball. His dad was the lead baseball writer for the Daily News. Dave grew up in ballparks.

His partner is Billy Martin…JR. Yes, son of the former Yankee…and Yankee manager.

Van Wagenen made his name in baseball as an MLB agent and, prior to accepting the role as GM with the Mets, was a co-head of Creative Artist Agency’s Baseball Division. The 44-year old built his career on relationships.

While the MLB has a significant population of young GMs that are analytics driven, the Mets decided to hire someone who the organization has established a strong relationship with over the years: Van Wagenen. Maybe the pendulum is swinging back??

There’s no question that Van Wagenen formed a robust rapport with the Mets, as six of the players on the team’s 2018 25-man roster were represented by him.

Two of the six are 2014 NL Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star pitcher Jacob DeGrom and 2016 All-Star pitcher Noah Syndergaard. Much of the controversy surrounding Van Wagenen being named GM has to do with these two guys.

As DeGrom enters his third year of arbitration and Syndergaard goes into his second, Van Wagenen and the Mets will be scrutinized about the appearance of impropriety.

They’ll have to build a “Chinese Wall” around Brodie, just as banks and law firms have done for years to guard against conflicts.

This will undoubtedly be tricky territory for all parties involved, as the role of GM encompasses overseeing these hearings. But we’re told the organization is steadfast that it will work.

Whether or not Van Wagenen stays away from the cases dealing with two of the Mets’ best players and his former clients is going to be something to keep an eye on.

Another element to keep in mind is that Van Wagenen has always been known as an agent that gets really good deals for his clients and less-so for the clubs. It will be interesting to see how – forgive us for another cliché, but – the tables will turn.

Kudos to the Mets for going outside of the box. And per Dave Pepe, Brodie’s experience in building relationships will be paramount to his success.

And oh yes…we and Dave have some players we think you might be interested in.

Lexie Brown Joins the IPZ Family

WNBA First Round Draft Pick Signs with IPZ

WARREN, NJ, July 25, 2018 – Lexie Brown, 2018 WNBA First Round Draft pick, has signed with IPZ, the company announced today.

Brown is a 5-foot-9 point guard who was a McDonald’s and WBCA All-American coming out of high school. She began her collegiate career at the University of Maryland and led the Terrapins to the NCAA Final Four as a freshman in the 2013-14 season and again as a sophomore the following season. In the 2014-15 season, Brown was named to the Associated Press (AP) All-America Third Team.

The point guard decided to transfer to Duke, competed as a Blue Devil in the 2016-17 season, and was named a co-captain. Her 18.3 points per game is the highest for a first-year player in the school’s history. Brown ranked third in the nation in free throw shooting, converting 92.8% of her attempts, and went on a streak of hitting 56 consecutive free throws (most in Duke and ACC history). In addition to being named to the AP All-America Third Team for the second time in her college career (the only player in NCAA history to accomplish this at two different schools), she was also a CoSIDA All-American and the winner of the Kay Yow Award as the ACC women’s basketball scholar-athlete of the year.

As a senior, Brown remained a co-captain and captured additional accolades: AP and espnW All-American, ACC Defensive Player of the Year, All-ACC First Team, Senior CLASS Award finalist, Kay Yow Award winner, preseason ACC Player of the Year, and numerous more. Brown averaged 19.4 ppg and 3.7 spg (led ACC). She was also the only active NCAA player to notch 2,000 points, 500 assists, 250 three-pointers, and 300 steals.

Following her storied college career, Brown participated in the 2018 State Farm College 3-Point Competition. A few weeks later, on April 12, the three-time All-American was selected with the ninth overall pick in the WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun.

Brown has appeared in 16 games for the Sun so far this season and will be playing overseas for CMB Cargo Gyor, a Hungarian EuroCup team, shortly after the conclusion of the WNBA season.

“I’m very excited to work with IPZ,” said Brown. “They are everything and more that I wanted in representation. They appreciate what I bring to the table on and off the court and understand the bigger picture. I am looking forward to bringing all my ideas and endeavors to life.”

“Lexie is truly one of a kind,” said IPZ’s WNBA Agent Kyrsten Van Natta. “Not only is she an outstanding basketball player, but she excels in many areas off the court as well. She earned her MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke – one of the best business schools in the country – and was a standout on the court for the Blue Devils simultaneously. There’s no question in my mind that Lexie will have an amazing career in and after basketball. We, at IPZ, are thrilled to be with her on her journey.”

Pro Agents Forms Strategic Alliance with IPZ

Baseball Agency Teams Up with Sports and Entertainment Agency

WOODBRIDGE, NJ, and WARREN, NJ, June 12, 2018Pro Agents, Inc., a full-service professional baseball agency, has formed a strategic alliance with IPZ, the companies announced today.

Pro Agents was established in 1995 by Major League Baseball (MLB) agents David Pepe and Billy Martin, Jr. Over the past 23 years, Pepe and Martin, Jr., combined, have negotiated more than $200 million in contracts. Among the players the agency has represented or currently represents are 6-time MLB All-Star Joe Nathan, former MLB pitcher Carl Pavano, current Dodgers’ pitcher Tom Koehler, and Angels’ 2016 first round pick Matt Thaiss.

Known for its expertise in sophisticated contract negotiation and shrewd off-field management, Pro Agents will receive support from IPZ with public relations and marketing opportunities for current and former baseball clients.  In addition, IPZ, through its network of coaches and sports contacts, will refer baseball players to Pro Agents for representation.  Mr. Pepe, a member of the New Jersey Bar, will also be available to assist with other contracts for IPZ athletes.

“It is an honor to work with the professionals at IPZ to help us continue to provide the best service available to all Pro Agents’ clients,” said Pro Agents’ David Pepe.

“I had the pleasure of working with Dave’s father, the great sportswriter Phil Pepe of the Daily News, and covering Billy‘s dad, the former Yankee manager, during my days as a sportswriter,” said IPZ Founder Robert Zito. “I’ve followed Dave’s career and am thrilled we will now have the opportunity to work together. Pro Agents has the same family philosophy and commitment to integrity that IPZ has. Together, we will provide a trusted resource for players and their families.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

New Zealand Breakers’ New Marketing Effort Tips Off

IPZ and Zito Partners to Assist

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND and WARREN, NJ, June 5, 2018 – The New Zealand Breakers, a professional basketball team that competes in the National Basketball League (NBL), Australia’s top-league, has teamed up with IPZ and Zito Partners (ZP) to assist in its branding and marketing efforts.

The New Zealand Breakers organization was founded in 2003 and has made seven NBL playoff appearances, winning four NBL Championships (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015) in the club’s 15 seasons of existence. With its home in Auckland, the Breakers are the only non-Australian team competing in the NBL.

According to a 2016-17 study by Nielsen Sports Research, the Breakers have more than 107,000 fans with 90% being likely to attend a game.

In February 2018, former NBA player Matt Walsh and his business partners Adam Goodman, Romie Chaudhari, Dan Katz, and NBA All-Star Shawn Marion became the Breakers’ majority stakeholders.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership,” said NZ Breakers’ Matt Walsh. “IPZ and Zito Partners have worked with top brands and businesses across all industries and we look forward to working closely to take the Breakers to the next level.”

“Matt and his young ownership group are bringing NBA excitement to the NBL,” said IPZ and Zito Partners’ founder Robert Zito. “This is a dynamic group of professionals who will energize Auckland, the NBL and its sponsors and fans. We’re thrilled to be part of the team.”

About New Zealand Breakers: The New Zealand Breakers are an Auckland, New Zealand-based professional basketball team that competes in the Australian National Basketball League. For more information, visit www.nzbreakers.basketball.

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.

ART EDMONDS SELECTS IPZ

Media + Entertainment Group to Represent TV Host

WARREN, NJ, May 7, 2018 – Art Edmonds, co-host of “Military Makeover,” has signed with IPZ, the company announced today.

Edmonds is a TV host and spokesperson with more than 17 years of experience. He is, currently, best known as the co-host of the TV show “Military Makeover” which airs nationally on Lifetime.

Nat Geo Wild has utilized Edmonds’ voiceover talents for two of its series “Swamp Men” and “Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER.” Edmonds was the narrator for the top-rated series “Swamp Men” for three seasons and seasons one and two of “Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER.” He was also the narrator of docu-drama series “Plane Xtreme” on The Weather Channel.

Moreover, Edmonds’ voiceover credits include national spots on CBS, CNN, TBS, and TLC, as well as block promos and TV and radio commercials including a Proactiv + spot. He also voiced “Dog Whisperer: Family Edition,” “Expedition Wild,” and “Outback Adventures with Tim Faulkner” as part of Litton’s Weekend Adventure, a programming block featured in national ABC and CW Network syndication. Currently, Edmonds is the daily network image announcer for CBS affiliate WDBJ7 Roanoke.

The multi-faceted Edmonds has live TV experience as he appeared on the “Morning Blend” and “Great Day Tampa Bay” when he was the Tampa Bay, FL spokesperson for 50 Floor. He has also been a guest on QVC, HSN, and The Shopping Channel Canada representing the ZeroWater filter pitcher. Edmonds was the national TV spokesperson and voice for ZeroWater for four years.

“We are thrilled that Art Edmonds has joined the IPZ family,” said IPZ Managing Director of Media + Entertainment Patricia Stark. “In his Military Makeover host role, Art shares his big heart and soul with veterans, their families and the viewers at home. Art possesses a wonderful combination of approachability, credibility and fun.”

Watch Edmonds’ demo here.

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.

NJ Biz Picks Up The Pearl

By Howard Burns

Basketball Hall of Famer and former New York Knicks star Earl “The Pearl” Monroe has signed for representation with IPZ, the management, representation and consulting company aligned with Warren-based public relations and marketing communications Zito Partners, the company announced.

The 1968 NBA Rookie of the Year and four-time All-Star has spent more than 30 years in the entertainment industry, with projects ranging from off-Broadway musicals to running his own record and publishing company. He also won the Peabody Award for producing the critically acclaimed documentary “Black Magic.” Monroe also does TV and radio commentary for the Knicks.

Additionally, Monroe is a motivational speaker and has written two books: “Earl the Pearl, My Story,” published in 2013, and “Getting Back in the Game,” a self-help book that is soon to be published.

Monroe has been a spokesperson for companies including Emblem HealthRemy MartinAmerican Heart AssociationBoehringer-Ingelheim, and most recently, Merck, where he led an award-winning campaign called “Diabetes Restaurant Month.”

“Class is the word that describes Earl,” said IPZ Managing Partner Robert Zito in a statement. “From his days on the court, to his family life, to helping his community and representing brands, ‘The Pearl’ is the class of class when it comes to ambassadors representing brands.”

View on NJ Biz.

FIVE BASKETBALL PLAYERS CHOOSE IPZ

Collegiate Standouts to be Represented by IPZ

WARREN, NJ, April 26, 2018 – Five basketball players – Avry Holmes (Santa Cruz Warriors), Donte Clark (Texas Southern University), Jonathan Mulmore (Georgetown University), Keith Carter (Valparaiso University), and J’Kyra Brown (University of Virginia) – have signed with IPZ.

Avry Holmes completed his rookie campaign with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G-League in late March. The 6’2 point guard and Clemson University product saw action in 43 games with the Warriors. Holmes averaged 19.6 minutes, 6.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game and shot 38.9% from beyond the three-point line.

Watch Holmes’ highlights from the 2017-18 season here.

Donte Clark led the Texas Southern Tigers to their first ever NCAA Tournament win this past season. In the First Four, Clark scored 18 points and secured 7 rebounds as the Tigers defeated NC Central. Throughout his collegiate career, the 6’4 Clark has been utilized as a swingman, and in the 2017-18 season, he averaged 18.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.

Watch Clark’s highlights from the 2017-18 season here.

Jonathan Mulmore was a staple in Georgetown’s starting lineup, under Patrick Ewing’s leadership, during his senior year. Mulmore played the point for the Hoyas and led the team in assists. He stands at 6’4 and averaged 5.6 ppg, 3.4 apg, 2.1 rpg, and connected on 46.9% of his three-point field goal attempts. The Hoya participated in the 2018 OAL Invitational and was named the MVP.

Keith Carter played collegiately at Valparaiso University and led the Crusaders in assists per game as both a junior (3.7) and a senior. The 6’0 point guard and posted a stat line of 10.3 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.3 rpg, and shot 39.4% from beyond the arc in his senior season. Carter was selected to the 2018 All-OAL Invitational Team.

Watch Carter’s highlights here.

J’Kyra Brown finished out her college career at Virginia this past season and appeared in all 33 games. The 5’11 guard averaged 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game as a senior. Brown finished with 131 made three-pointers in her career as a Hokie, this tied her with Dawn Staley for 10th most in UVA history.

Watch Brown’s 2017-18 season highlights here.

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.