The Duke basketball commit has signed a multi-year NIL partnership with Champs Sports, On3 has confirmed. He will headline the sports retail company’s fall performance apparel campaign. The reigning California Gatorade Player of the Year is able to monetize his NIL thanks to California allowing high schoolers to turn a profit.
McCain committed to Duke back in March, but his social media following has made him a national name. The 18th-ranked player in the 2023 class, he chose the Blue Devils and first-year head coach Jon Scheyer over Gonzaga, UCLA, Louisville and Houston.
As part of the deal with Champs, the five-star prospect stars in a commercial next to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Appearing in an Eastbay-branded collection together, the two are shown in branded apparel and a variety of sneakers.
“It’s like a dream come true,” McCain told Boardroom’s Nick DePaula. “To work with Champs, that’s like every kid’s dream. You walk into the store when you’re younger, [and now] to be on those posters and to be a part of it at all, I’m just super excited about it.”
Champs has been aggressive in the NIL space. It announced a partnership with Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson on Tuesday. Miami basketball players Haley and Hanna Cavinder have played a heavy role in marketing since they signed back in December.
The company strategy is not changing any time soon.
“As NIL evolves, we’re looking forward to growing our roster of athlete partners and continue being a leading example for athlete partnerships in the space,” Champs Sports and Eastbay’s general manager Guy Harkless told Boardroom.
Jared McCain building strong NIL brand
Jared McCain has carefully crafted a strong brand before he even reaches the college ranks. He announced a deal with Lemon Perfect in August. He has his own pair of Crocs. The senior at Corona Centennial High School, just outside of Los Angeles, has positioned himself to be a NIL star.
As part of the Lemon Perfect deal, the contract is set up to give the 6-foot-2, 180-pound guard an opportunity to act like an owner and get first-hand business experience.
He’s really just starting to tap into his NIL. With over 1.7 million followers on TikTok, he has 2.2 million total across all platforms. That’s an audience many professional athletes do not even have. And he has not even played a single game in a Duke uniform.
The fourth-ranked player out of California in the 2023 class, he averaged 23 points this past season for Centennial. He also helped Team USA’s U18 national team bring home a gold medal at this summer’s FIBA U18 Americas Championship.
“He’s done one heck of a job growing his own personal brand,” On3 national basketball analyst Joe Tipton said. “However, Duke will only strengthen it, especially in the NIL era.”
McCain has an On3 NIL Valuation of $983,000, which ranks fourth in On3’s high school NIL basketball rankings. He only trails Bronny James ($7.3 million), Mikey Williams ($3.5 million) and Hansel Enmanuel ($1.5 million). He also comes in 19th in the On3 NIL 100, which is the first of its kind and the defacto NIL ranking of the top 100 high school and college athletes ranked by market valuation.
The On3 NIL Valuation is an index that looks to set the standard market value for both high school and college-level athletes. The On3 NIL Valuation does not act as a tracker of the value of NIL deals an athlete has completed to date. It rather signifies an athlete’s value at a certain moment in time.