Duke basketball’s Jared McCain breaks down strengths, weaknesses at NBA Draft Combine

Duke basketball’s Jared McCain is leaning into his strengths and learning more about his weaknesses this week at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.

A star freshman in his one-and-done season with the Blue Devils, McCain on Wednesday took part in an ESPN2 interview with Christine Williamson, Cory Alexander, Sean Farnham and Bobby Marks.

After discussing his TikTok account, McCain was asked about what he can provide as a professional as he prepares for the NBA Draft, which is set for June 26-27 in Brooklyn.

“My best skill set, I think the most translatable, is the shooting. That’s been my best trait since I was a kid, just being able to shoot the ball,” McCain said.

“Other than that, I feel like a winner. Everywhere I’ve went, I’ve won. … I’ve always played in the big games, bright lights, that’s when I feel like I play my best.”

At the combine, McCain measured at 6-foot-2 without shoes and weighed in at 203 pounds. In USA TODAY’s latest mock draft, He is projected to be selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 14th overall pick.’s latest mock predicts McCain to go one spot higher at No. 13 to the Sacramento Kings.

McCain averaged 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists at Duke. He made 41.4% of his 3-pointers, setting a program record with eight 3s against James Madison in the NCAA Tournament. He lived up to his reputation as a knockdown shooter at the combine, drilling 19-of-25 three-pointers during a catch-and-shoot drill.

As for his weaknesses, McCain is known for attacking everything with optimism and a smile, including criticism of his game.

“I think a lot of people think defense is probably the biggest thing – iso defense. I think I’m a great team defender,” McCain said.

“I didn’t get to showcase a lot of my on-ball (defense at Duke). Obviously, we had a lot of great on-ball people at Duke. But I think it’s something I can bring to the table and something I’m going to showcase during this pre-draft process.”

He went on to say he gets “knocked” for his ball handling and ability to finish at the rim, but he’s ready to show that he’s capable of being reliable in both areas.

Across 36 games with the Blue Devils, McCain showed flashes of his potential as a controlled playmaker in the lane with great balance. Farnham asked McCain how he developed that “feel” for the game.

“I’m a big fan of just watching basketball. When you want to win, you’ll do anything to win,” McCain said.

“Whether that’s knowing time and score, knowing when to guard, be in help or be in the gap, I think over time you just get used to playing up and playing with older players.”

Staff writer Rodd Baxley can be reached at or @RoddBaxley on X/Twitter. 

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Duke's Jared McCain talks strengths, weaknesses at NBA Draft Combine