The Blue Devils will count on David McClure to lead his team to many victories during his career at Duke—but not necessarily right away, and not in the ways normally expected of recruits coming to Durham.
McClure is often forgotten about in the shadow of fellow freshman DeMarcus Nelson’s flashy moves and scoring prowess. But McClure was recruited to contribute in a bevy of other ways, even if they do not always show up on the stat line.
“We have so many great players on this team,” McClure said. “With weapons like that out there you have to try and get those guys open by setting screens and hitting them with passes and picking my spots when I have them.”
Barring any injuries, it is possible that McClure will be left out of the eight-man rotation employed by head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Knowing how thin the Blue Devils are this year, though, the coaching staff has asked McClure to learn a number of different positions and get used to a myriad of roles in practice.
So far in the team’s workouts Duke has used McClure mainly at the two forward positions, but the coaching staff has also experimented with the lanky 6-foot-6 athlete at the guard slot. He played center for his high school team and shooting guard for his AAU team. His versatility allows Duke a much broader range of lineup possibilities if the Blue Devils choose to use him, creating a great insurance policy should injuries pile up.
“I’ve been trying to find my role out there,” McClure said. “I’ve been trying to get used to the system, fit in with everything and get used to things going at a different pace.”
McClure was known in high school as a tenacious rebounder and an adept scorer on both the inside and outside. His outside shooting was a weakness, but he said he has worked hard at it since last season.
More than his on-court performance, though, McClure should contribute exceptional leadership qualities for years to come. There have even been many early comparisons, in terms of demeanor, to Shane Battier. His humility contributes to his leadership qualities that were so highly touted before Duke.
“Right now I’m just really worried about this year,” he said. “Only time will tell. I think that everybody on our team has to step up and be a leader at some point. That’s how we’re going to win—not one person being the leader but everybody contributing and being a leader.”
McClure arrived at Duke early this summer to begin taking classes and getting adjusted to college life. He and Nelson are roommates and have formed a strong friendship.
“It’s definitely been a pretty big transition, but it’s just part of growing up,” McClure said. “Off the court you have a lot more responsibilities as well, and time management is a big thing. I think it’s going pretty well so far.”
McClure said he is enjoying his time in Durham, and it is not only because of basketball.
“It’s great to be on the basketball team, but you’re only in college once,” he said. “It’s great to just meet people and have people see you for you.”
McClure comes to Duke from Trinity Catholic High School in Connecticut, where he was a four-year letter winner. Last year he led the team to a 26-1 record and a state championship on the way to winning the Gatorade state Player of the Year award.
Past accolades and future expectations aside, McClure is excited to get the season and his collegiate career started.
“The future is hard to predict,” he said. “The only thing that really matters is what coach wants us to do, and our goals will change with each year.”
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