Duke basketball: Jon Scheyer is the biggest reason for turnaround in electric guard

Jared McCain has looked like a different player for the Duke basketball team and a lot of the credit has to go to head coach Jon Scheyer.

Jan 2, 2024; Durham, North Carolina, USA;  Duke Blue Devils guard Jared McCain (0) dribbles up court
Jan 2, 2024; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Jared McCain (0) dribbles up court / Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
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The transition from high school to college is not easy and Duke basketball freshman Jared McCain witnessed that first hand in his first two months with the Blue Devils.

The McDonald's All-American struggled against power conference teams like Arizona, Michigan State, Arkansas, and Georgia Tech -- averaging 5.0 points per contest in those games and shooting 23.3-percent from the floor -- as some wondered if he could thrive against the elite programs.

Then, Jon Scheyer stepped in. The second year head coach told McCain to be himself and start hunting his shot.

"You're not ready enough before you catch [the ball]," Scheyer told him in practice. "I want you really hunting your shots."

"Don't be passing up shots, which you do."

Message received.

Jared McCain is averaging 19.4 points over his last five games, all which have been victories for the Blue Devils, and the shooting numbers have been unconscious -- 57.6-percent from the field (34-of-59) and 53.1-percent from 3-point range (17-of-32) -- including a 21-point performance against No. 10 Baylor inside Madison Square Garden.

McCain was firing on all cylinders on Tuesday night against Syracuse, pulling up for 3-pointers in transition, and taking the most shots on the team (13) while finishing with 18 points and making 4-of-6 attempts from beyond the arc.

“After that Georgia Tech game, I kind of realized that this is not me. That’s not how I play," McCain said after the 86-66 victory. "[Jon Scheyer] gave me confidence."

"I can control my effort and how hard I play. It doesn’t matter how many shots go in. I just control what I can control."

The freshman has been in control for Duke and will need him to continue to play at a high level as the season progresses. The No. 14 Blue Devils (10-3, 1-1 ACC) begin a two game road trip on Saturday night (6:00 p.m. ET, ACC Network) against Notre Dame (6-8, 1-2 ACC) before traveling to Pittsburgh next week.

“When I see an open one, I’m going to shoot it every time. If I’m 0-for-9, I’m going to always shoot the next one like I’m 10-for-10," McCain added.

"I’ve just got to always instill confidence in myself. I work on those shots, so I’m just going to keep shooting them.”

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