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Duke commit Jared McCain inks NIL partnership with Lemon Perfect

Nakos updated headshotby:Pete Nakos08/23/22


Jared McCain has signed NIL deals with Crocs, Kay Jewlers and Cernucci. Now he’s adding an enhanced water company into his collection.

The five-star Duke basketball commit has signed on as the first brand ambassador for Lemon Perfect. The fast-rising hydrating lemon water brand is a zero sugar drink with five calories.

McCain committed to Duke back in March, but his social media following has made him a national name. The 17th-ranked player in the 2023 class, he chose the Blue Devils and first-year head coach Jon Scheyer over GonzagaUCLALouisville and Houston.

Plans are in place for Lemon Perfect to rollout more partnerships in the coming weeks, sources told On3. While no terms of McCain’s contract were disclosed, it 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.

The third-ranked player out of California in the 2023 class, he averaged 23 points and six rebounds this past season for Centennial High School. He also helped Team USA’s U18 national team bring home a gold medal at this summer’s FIBA U18 Americas Championship in Tijuana, Mexico.

In April, Lemon Perfect announced the closing of a $31 million Series A headlined by internationally celebrated award-winning artist and entrepreneur Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. The financing brought Lemon Perfect’s total valuation to over $100 million in less than three years from the company’s selling its first bottle.

Jared McCain’s massive personal brand

Jared McCain’s one of the top players in his class. He also has some major NIL potential thanks to the work he has done on building his personal brand. With over 1.6 million followers on TikTok, he has 2.1 million total across all platforms. That’s an audience many professional athletes do not even have.

“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 $959,000, which ranks fourth in On3’s high school NIL basketball rankings. He only trails Bronny James ($7.2 million), Mikey Williams ($4 million) and Hansel Enmanuel ($1.5 million). He also comes in 21st 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.