Brand New

The new uniforms and gear are ready for public consumption -- the new brand is ready for launch.

CHAMPAIGN — With anticipation for Nike's Illinois rebranding project building, football coach Tim Beckman couldn't help but scheme.

He wanted to replicate an April Fools' prank Washington football coach Chris Peterson pulled off on his players.

The Huskies were set to unveil new uniforms this month, too, and Petersen gathered his troops together to show off the "new" look. The uniforms were hideous. Some players blankly stared at the models. Others looked around with a ‘wait, is this for real?' look.

"Wasn't that hilarious? I was thinking hard about doing that," Beckman said.

There will be no fools on Wednesday. At 7 p.m. on campus at Krannert, Illinois will show off the jerseys and apparel Nike has spent the past 18 months preparing. The new gear will go on sale Wednesday night.

"Obviously, I've seen some of it," basketball coach John Groce said. "I think it's really, really neat. Obviously we love our relationship with Nike. They are a global power. We feel blessed to have an association with them."

The unveiling event will include Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise and athletic director Mike Thomas, as well as Nike reps to explain the process.

Football players Donovonn Young, Simon Cvijanovic and Matt LaCosse and basketball players Rayvonte Rice, Tracy Abrams and Nnanna Egwu will serve as models.

Players from the baseball, soccer, women's basketball and volleyball team's will also model.

"They're really excited," Groce said of his players. "I think it's really cutting edge. I think our fans will like it. I think our kids will like it. I think recruits will love it, so we're excited about it taking place."

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