One thing you can say about Jared McCain is he’s different; he’s a kid that enjoys life and family but marches to the beat of his own drum. My first introduction to McCain was through highlights and the documentary about him done by @nickinthecutt. It really delved into what makes the young man tick and it was such an engaging documentary. The doc, along with games that were sent to me from different people, really sold me on Jared, and he became one of my favorite players to watch in high school. This was before I ever thought Duke had any shot of landing him. Honestly, I expected the youngster to stick on the West Coast.
There are a few things that never changed for Jared, regardless of what he was doing — his effort and his smile. The kid has become a masterclass in NIL and branding, but through that, he has never seemed to lose sight of what afforded him those opportunities, and that is the work. No matter how hard you think you work as a player, McCain is working harder, and that’s been evident from the very start. You would think a kid with two million followers on TikTok and hundreds of thousands more on other platforms would let that sort of thing get in the way of his goals, but they’ve always been right there amplifying his reach, his profile and his presence.
On the court he’s all about business and work, and that is what has earned him a multitude of honors including two straight years of being named California’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
What stands out to me about McCain are his IQ on the court and his ability to get his shot off anywhere despite being 6’2″. His skill as a shooter and shot maker are undeniable, but his abilities as a passer do not get nearly the credit they deserve. In the mold of a JJ Redick type, McCain will flourish in ball screens, pin downs and curls, but I think he has a chance to really expand his game at Duke as a playmaker and defender. I think with the way Duke wants to play this season, McCain could really be a plus perimeter defender. He’s not a quick twitch guy but is strong and has solid instincts.
The key to Jared’s game as I see it at Duke will be his efficiency. I think early in his Duke career he can be a microwave type of player coming in to get an offense going quickly and trust me, he can get hot in a hurry. That’s not to say he couldn’t earn his way to a starting spot, but the only drawback I could see to that is size — which can be schemed around. Another underrated facet to McCain’s game is his ability to take the bump. The kid trains hard and trains with contact and he is a specimen; much stronger than the average freshman, he has an uncanny ability to finish through contact as a smaller player.
He may be a yoga-practicing, fingernail-painting, TikTok dancing businessman, but McCain will give you buckets on buckets on buckets and have a smile on his face the entire time.