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  • Writer's pictureVolume 82 Magazine

USC's Freshman JuJu Watkins is Up Next as an NCAA Basketball Icon!

Juju Watkins @jujubballin/Instagram

University of Southern California's freshman Juju Watkins is up next as an NCAA basketball icon! As a high schooler, JuJu reportedly caught the attention of Klutch Sports Group, which represents several high-profile NBA players. She became the first woman to sign with the group as a high school junior, according to Forbes. Forbes also reports that Juju has inked some great NIL deals with Nike, CELSIUS, Cash App, Ritz, Poppi, and Morgan & Morgan Law Firm—her most recent partnership is with NerdWallet, which will provide the up-and-coming athlete with financial planning and direction. Her endorsements allowed her to end her season with a reported $555,000 NIL valuation. 

Despite falling short during the Elite Eight game against UConn this year, Watkins helped take USC back to the NCAA's Sweet 16, something the team had yet to do since 1994. The 6'2" freshman dominated the court in significant ways this year. Watkins fell behind Iowa's Caitlin Clark and held the number two spot in NCAA scoring. The USC guard earned a Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honor. During the Elite Eight game against UConn, Watkins broke former NCAA player Tina Hutchinson's 40-[year-old leading freshman scoring record] of 898 pointsbecoming the nation's highest-scoring freshman in history, scoring 920 points, therefore earning The Wooden Award All-American honor, as announced by USC. The freshman guard also helped lead the team to a 29-6 season. Juju also scored 51 points against Stanford. 

The freshman guard was devastated by the UConn upset that denied the Trojans the chance to advance to the Final Four, but she's projected to do big things for the remainder of her NCAA career! 

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