Jared McCain filled with tears after Duke basketball season ends in Elite 8

The Blue Devil rookie left everything on the floor against North Carolina State

Mar 31, 2024; Dallas, TX, USA; Duke basketball guard Jared McCain (0) loses control of the ball
Mar 31, 2024; Dallas, TX, USA; Duke basketball guard Jared McCain (0) loses control of the ball / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jared McCain was a star before joining the Duke basketball team but his popularity only grew with his success in the NCAA Tournament.

It reached a peak following his 30-point performance in the Round of 32 against James Madison, hitting 8-of-11 3-pointers in the process.

However, McCain's season came to a screeching halt when Duke fell to NC State in the Elite 8 on Sunday afternoon. The loss denied the California native the ability to return to the West Coast for this year's Final Four in Arizona.

The freshman was asked immediately after the game about his journey to Duke from across the country and if he realized how impactful he has been on the program during his short time in Durham.

"It's meant everything to me," an emotionally drained McCain said.

"To come here for Coach [Scheyer] to believe in me, for my teammates to believe in me. Especially in the beginning of the year when I felt like I couldn't get things going as a freshman, they instilled confidence in me, especially him right here."

Scheyer then consoled McCain as he began to cry. The moderator the ended questions for the players.

It put an end to a special freshman season on a sour note.

Jared McCain went for 32 points on 8-of-20 shooting and 5-for-11 from 3-point range. He also made all 11 of his free throw attempts. He was left hanging by the rest of his teammates who did not play well.

He averaged 21.0 points per game in the NCAA Tournament, making 50-percent of his 3-pointers.

There's no guarantee that McCain returns to Duke for his sophmore season, either. He is projected by some as a Top-30 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, which is considered to be a much weaker class compared to next year.

If he is looking for a guaranteed NBA contract based on his draft selection, it seems that the smart decision would be to turn professional. However, McCain is one of the most lucrative players in college basketball due to his social media stardom and could use another season in college to further develop his other skills.

Duke also has a loaded recruiting class coming to campus next season, but none currently project to a starting shooting guard role that is ready for a bulk of the minutes early in the season.

it will not be an easy decision for Jared McCain, but it is one that has to be made somewhat quickly.