Best Hurricanes Player (2009)
Coming out of Calvert Hall High in Baltimore, Jack McClinton was never seen as a hard-court star, let alone a guy who could put a football school on the basketball map. McClinton applied to every college in the ACC and was roundly rejected by all of them. So when the young man decided he wanted to transfer from Siena College — the only school to offer him a scholarship — after his freshman year, McClinton's father sent a highlight tape to UM basketball coach Frank Haith. Haith saw potential in the six-foot-one guard — a sharp shooter with range and remarkable scoring instincts. Yet what McClinton has done since transferring to Miami has exceeded everyone's expectations. Last season, he led the ACC with 87 three-pointers and guided the Canes to their first win over Duke in 45 years. This season, as an All-ACC First-Teamer (and an All-ACC Academic First-Teamer), he averaged 23 points in conference play, dropping 34 and 35 points against ACC powerhouses Duke and North Carolina, respectively.
In his three seasons at the U, McClinton not only emerged as the best pure shooter in all of college basketball, but also developed the rep of a cold-hearted assassin. Jack the Ripper made his name as a big-game clutch shooter, hitting those arching three-pointers at key moments while elevating the play of his teammates. McClinton single-handedly made the basketball Canes relevant and turned them into a team to be reckoned with in the ACC. Not bad for a kid who was told his game would never amount to anything beyond Division II.
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