Who is Jared McCain’s brother? How Jayce McCain helped sibling become freshman star at Duke

Jared McCain came into Duke as a touted recruit. He hasn’t disappointed during his first season with the Blue Devils.

McCain quickly established himself as a threatening 3-point shooter. He made 41.5 percent of his shots from behind the arc during the season and averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game while earning himself a spot on the ACC’s All-Freshman Team.

McCain’s immediate goal now is about leading Duke to a national championship. He also might have one eye on the NBA, as he may establish himself as a lottery-level talent in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Regardless of what McCain’s future holds, he knows he is indebted to his brother, Jayce, for helping him find success early in his basketball career. Here’s why.

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Who is Jared McCain’s brother?

Jayce McCain is Jared McCain’s older brother. The two grew up together, were raised by their parents — Lance and Jina —  and shared a love of basketball.

Now, both are at Duke and looking to help lead the Blue Devils to a national championship, Jared as a player and Jayce as a graduate assistant.

Jayce explained that the two played basketball often during their younger years, but he had the upper hand as the older brother.

“We played one-on-one nonstop,” Jayce said in an interview at Duke. “I continuously beat him like I do now.”

Jina also believes that Jayce was “tough” on Jared, saying that his “mission was to tease” his younger brother.

Jayce admitted that was a fair assessment. It’s also one that allows him to take credit for the player his brother has become.

“Me somewhat bullying him turned him into a dog,” Jayce said.

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Jayce McCain’s basketball career, health problems

One of the reasons that the elder McCain brother focused on developing his brother as a player? Jayce couldn’t quite become a professional basketball player.

It wasn’t from a lack of talent or desire. He simply had trouble staying on the court during his younger years.

“[In] high school, I kinda had some health problems,” Jayce explained. “Doctors couldn’t figure out exactly what it was, so I missed a few games here and there. I missed half a season my junior year, so recruiting was a little lower for me. That’s what the Div. II option ended up being the best option for me.”

Ultimately, Jayce committed to Cal State San Marcos, but when he got there, he was still dealing with health concerns.

“I’m still feeling pain. It’s something in my chest,” he said. “Doctors thought it could have been a heart problem; it wasn’t. Then they finally found blood clots, a pulmonary embolism. That prevented me from playing my freshman year, so I had to redshirt [and] take blood thinners.”

Jayce played three seasons for the Cougars, averaging 11 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. He set a record for most games played in school history (84) and total minutes (2,714), as well.

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How Jayce McCain became coach & mentor for brother Jared

McCain was satisfied with his college career, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to go as far as he wanted to in basketball as a player. That’s when he decided to take a different approach to making a potential NBA run.

“All while this is going on, I’m kinda contemplating my own career and thinking, ‘Man, I probably won’t make it as far as I wanted to go — all the way to the NBA,’” McCain said. “And that’s when I kinda started thinking about, I need to start investing in my little brother, who has potential. I started thinking like, I can also see those goals and help him get there if I invest in him and take a step back in my own career.”

From there, Jayce began to mentor his little brother more consistently. The two worked together consistently during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s when Jared began to make major strides with his game.

That played a part in the younger McCain’s ascension to becoming a five-star recruit with a consensus national ranking of 14th, per 247Sports.

And Jared was — and still is — appreciative of his brother’s sacrifices.

“Obviously, he had a dream and he’s taking a step back just for me,” Jared said. “For me, that was huge. Just to know that my brother would do anything for me. My brother will sacrifice anything for me to help me reach the next level. So, it almost gave me the most motivation I’ve ever needed.”

That’s why he is planning on eventually making it to the NBA. And when he does, his brother will be right there alongside him.

“It’s both of our dreams to make it to the NBA,” Jared said. “If I’m the one playing, then he’s gonna be right there with me along this whole journey.”

“The reason why I step on this court — I wanna play as hard as I can every single possession for Jayce,” he added.

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Jared McCain NBA Draft

McCain appears to have a good chance to make it to the NBA. Sporting News’ Kyle Irving has the 76ers selecting the Duke star at No. 17 overall in his latest 2024 NBA mock draft.

“He’s a connective playmaker with a 3-and-D skill set that should seamlessly translate to the NBA,” Irving wrote of McCain.

McCain posted a 30-point outing in Duke’s landslide win over James Madison, connecting on eight 3-point shots, so his stock may end up being on the rise. It will be interesting to see whether the 20-year-old enters the 2024 NBA Draft, which is considered relatively weak, or if he opts to return to Duke.

If he chooses the former option, then the question will be about whether Jayce will join him for his NBA career or if he’ll want to stay put at Duke and focus on his budding coaching career.

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