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2024 NBA Draft: Duke’s Jared McCain to go pro after earning ACC All-Rookie Team honors

Duke guard Jared McCain is entering the NBA Draft after earning a spot on the ACC All-Rookie Team, he announced Friday. McCain arrived in Durham as the Blue Devils’ top-ranked prospect from the 2023 recruiting cycle and blossomed into a potential first-round selection this summer.

McCain started all 36 games for the Blue Devils and was a focal point during their run to the Elite Eight. McCain scored 30 points in a win over James Madison in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and recorded 32 points against NC State in the final game of his college career. 

“Today I’m filled with such gratitude and appreciation for my life and everything that’s been brought to me this year,” McCain said in his announcement. “I want to thank the coaching staff, my family, my teammates for everything they’ve done for me this year. Words cannot describe the gratitude I have for coach Scheyer. He believed in me when I felt like he could have given up on me and not given me a chance as a freshman.”

McCain is arguably the best 3-point shooter in this draft class. He finished the season connecting on 41.4% of his shots from distance on 5.8 attempts per game. While McCain could be considered undersized at the combo guard position, he makes up for it with his tenacious rebounding ability. McCain recorded at least five rebounds in 19 of the 36 games he played in.

Jared McCain’s NBA Draft projection

McCain is almost guaranteed to be a first-round pick. McCain has the potential to sneak into the lottery for a team looking for a sharpshooter. He is one of only three Duke first-year players in the last 25 years to shoot over 40% from beyond the arc on more than five attempts per game.

“That’s something I’ve prided myself on my whole life,” McCain told CBS Sports in February. “My dad taught me how to shoot when I first started playing basketball. Shooting has always been a valuable asset for me, especially in college. It’s like a must to be able to shoot. … coach gives me the confidence to shoot.”

In the 2024 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings from CBS Sports, McCain checked in at No. 17. McCain landed at No. 16 in a recent mock draft from Kyle Boone and landed at No. 27 in Gary Parrish’s most recent mock draft. 

“McCain had a remarkable NCAA Tournament run before NC State bounced it out of the Elite Eight,” Boone wrote. “Twice during the tourney he reached 30 or more points and he showed off his versatility as one of the most willing rebounders at the guard position in the class.”

Impact on Duke

When a player of McCain’s caliber departs for the NBA, it can be devastating for a program. That certainly isn’t the case because the Blue Devils are bringing the No. 1 recruiting class from the 2024 cycle to campus this fall. The headliner is No. 1 overall recruit Cooper Flagg – one of the best high school prospects in recent memory. Joining Flagg is five-star center Khaman Maluach, five-star forward Isaiah Evans, five-star forward Kon Knueppel, four-star center Patrick Ngongba ll, and four-star forward Darren Harris. Duke forward Mark Mitchell entered the transfer portal, and star sophomore Kyle Filipowski has yet to announce his next move. Guard Tyrese Proctor announced he is returning for his junior season. More personnel decisions are ahead for Duke. But the the future is bright for coach Jon Scheyer and company.

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