Film room: Analyzing Duke men's basketball guard Jared McCain

Jared McCain is Duke's top recruit in head coach Jon Scheyer's second season.
Jared McCain is Duke's top recruit in head coach Jon Scheyer's second season.

Duke men’s basketball is adding an exciting new class of signees and transfers for head coach Jon Scheyer’s second season at the helm, and the Blue Zone is here to analyze film on each of the incoming Blue Devils. First, let's take a look at Jared McCain:

Jared McCain, perhaps the Blue Devils’ most well-known recruit this season, has certainly made a name for himself. Hailing from Centennial High School in Corona, Calif., McCain is Duke’s highest-rated recruit in the team’s second-ranked class. While known off the court for his social media presence, his on-court abilities grant him all the workings of a future NBA star.

A five-star recruit, McCain is slated to be the third guard on the Blue Devils’ depth chart behind sophomore Tyrese Proctor and senior Jeremy Roach. However, don’t be surprised if McCain earns starting time in Duke’s lineup. A 6-foot-3 combo guard, McCain would be hard not to play given his dynamic skill set — particularly his shooting, shot creation and defense.

Known as a strong shooter and efficient scorer, McCain shot 40.6% from three and 89.4% from the free-throw line during his junior season with the Centennial Huskies. In a February 2023 matchup against rival school Sierra Canyon and standout prospect Bronny James Jr., McCain scored 22 points and cashed in on 11-for-13 free throw attempts, displaying his ability to draw fouls. Watch this well-executed fast break by McCain to put the Huskies up seven. 

If there is any caveat to McCain’s shooting ability, it’s that he shot just 1-for-6 from behind the arc in the McDonald’s All-American game, and his shooting performance in the 2022 FIBA U18 championship suggests he may need time to adjust to the college landscape from a shooting perspective.

In addition to his shooting, McCain’s ability to create shots for his teammates has garnered large acclaim by scouts, and is a skill that scales up to any level of basketball. Watch this clip of McCain making a perfect pass for an easy dunk, all while slipping to the ground. 

All in all, McCain provides a two-way threat on offense as a scorer and passer. Watch how this bounce pass turns into an easy relocation triple for the 19-year-old. 

McCain works as an active defender and has a knack for the ball, similar to a ball-hawk safety in football. Watch this chaotic possession where McCain lunges for the ball five times before turning defense into offense with a steal and a savvy assist. 

Will McCain get to show his unique skill set immediately? That remains unclear for the fall, as Roach and Proctor are both returning. Regardless, McCain can bring star power, flashiness and strong offense to a Duke team hoping to contend for a national title. As the Blue Devils continue to usher in a post-Krzyzewski era, McCain can prove himself as one of Jon Scheyer’s leading faces.


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