Jared McCain gives emotional farewell message to Duke basketball program

The Blue Devil freshman will not be forgotten anytime soon in Durham
Mar 2, 2024; Durham, North Carolina, USA;  Duke basketball guard Jared McCain (0) reacts during the
Mar 2, 2024; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke basketball guard Jared McCain (0) reacts during the / Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

While Jared McCain wasn't a member of any Duke basketball championship teams, he will not be forgotten in Durham for quite some time.

The freshman sensation announced his intentions to forgo his final three years of eligibility and enter the 2024 NBA Draft after a stellar rookie season which saw him average 14.3 points per game on 41.4-percent shooting from 3-point territory.

McCain posted his decision on social media with a video message.

"Today I'm filled with such gratitude and appreciation for my life," the California native said.

"Word cannot describe the gratitude I have for coach [Jon] Scheyer. He believed in me when I felt like he could've given up on me and not given me a chance as a freshman."

McCain expressed similar sentiments about the Duke head coach after the Blue Devils were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Elite 8 against NC State, moving him to tears in the interview room.

"It's been the best year of my life to play in Cameron Indoor, to play for Duke, and to put on that jersey."

It was a difficult decision for Jared McCain, but one he had to make as a projected first round pick in what is considered a weak draft class. Many experts believe the Duke freshman will be selected inside the Top-20.

"Even only being [at Duke] for one year, I got to the impact and the power of The Brotherhood," McCain added. "And that's what made this decision extremely hard, but I've always been a dream chaser. I've always been one to reach my goals and that next one is the NBA."

After his social media video, McCain went back to X, formerly known as Twitter, to share another message with the Duke basketball fans.

"Duke fans I can truly say this was the best year of my life, I can’t stress that enough," he said. "I loved everything about this school. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms and supporting me through everything this year."

McCain struggled to adjust to the college game in the first month of the season but exploded from mid-December until the end of the year, averaging 16.1 points per contest in Duke's final 28 games.

He gathered more national attention, specifically in the NCAA Tournament, for his viral social media videos.

"I know the TikToks and nail painting is different and hard to look past for some but I really played every game like it was my last and worked everyday to try and represent that Duke jersey correctly," he explained.

"Most importantly, thank you for allowing me to be myself. I hope and pray I was able to spread some joy and positivity while watching me play. I love Duke."