Duke men's basketball 2023-24 player preview: Jared McCain

Freshman Jared McCain enters Duke as a five-star recruit.
Freshman Jared McCain enters Duke as a five-star recruit.

As the beginning of basketball season is near, the Blue Zone provides a detailed preview of each player on Duke men's basketball's 2023-24 roster. We've already looked at Stanley Borden, Spencer Hubbard, Neal Begovich, Jaden Schutt, Christian Reeves, Jaylen Blakes, TJ Power, Ryan Young, Sean Stewart and Caleb Foster. Next up is freshman guard Jared McCain: 

Jared McCain

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-foot-3

Position: Guard

Last year’s stat line: N/A

Game breakdown: Jared McCain is one of the most exciting prospects and the most well-known player from Duke’s freshman class. The 6-foot-3 guard hails from Sacramento, Calif., where he averaged 18 points per game during his senior year for Centennial High School. The five-star recruit also won a gold medal at the 2022 FIBA U18 Americas Championship, and clearly has some experience under his belt. 

McCain is not only a presence on the court, but off the court as well. In particular, his social media following is immense – McCain has over two million followers on TikTok, where he regularly shares snapshots of his life at Duke. He has drawn spotlight attention to his nails, which he paints blue as a nod to the Blue Devils’ home colors. This is perhaps an indication of McCain’s trademark for the coming year.

Role on the Team: While it is true that McCain may be at least the third choice at guard after sophomore Tyrese Proctor and senior Jeremy Roach, it would be unsurprising that he starts in at least a few games. Afterall, he is Duke’s highest-rated recruit this year. 

McCain is an all-round player who can attack, defend and create. He is a strong shooter and an efficient scorer, with rates of 40.6% from three and 89.4% from the free-throw line in his junior season with the Centennial Huskies. Furthermore, McCain’s creativity in providing assists to his teammates were well-reported by national scouts, proving that he is indeed a team player. Indeed, his relatively-small size and speed gives him versatility in creating spaces and chances for teammates to shoot. Just imagine what McCain could achieve with a scoring machine like sophomore Kyle Filipowski. Lastly, his hunger for the ball allows him to steal easily and quickly turn defense into offense.

Head coach Jon Scheyer could very well use McCain’s dynamic skill set, and play him in a role that best suits his position and the team as a whole. Hence, McCain may see his minutes adapt throughout the season depending on his performances.

NBA Comparison: McCain’s creativity reminds fans of Golden State point guard Chris Paul. With similar heights and passing attributes, the former Wake Forest player is regarded as one of the greatest to play at his position. In fact, both players utilize changing their speed to get around opponents and penetrate deep into enemy territory. However, Paul’s incredible college freshman statistics of 14.8 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.7 steals per game are unlikely to be matched by McCain this season. Perhaps in time he could develop into the master playmaker that Paul is.

Projected stats: 21.8 MPG, 9.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 2.6 APG


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