King McClure has a knack for making his presence felt, even when he's absent. The strong, aggressive 6-3 guard missed this summer's Peach Jam due to injury, and when his Texas Titans fell to the Playaz in Peach Jam bracket play, it was a lack of guard physicality that largely led to their doom.
Thus, McClure's value to the squad became clearer than ever. He was a lynchpin for that program in multiple seasons, playing up in age but never afraid. He caught our attention as a rising sophomore in the 16-under division at the 2012 Peach Jam, and he never released his hold on a national ranking (currently No. 84 in the class) despite some setbacks.
He suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for almost the entire 2013 travel circuit but returned to form during his junior season. He'd been a prime target of Baylor since the 8th grade and committed to the Bears this past April.
Unfortunately, knee troubles once again hindered his play this past July, though he did compete at the EYBL Hampton event (where I observed him most recently) and participated in 16 total games with the Titans. It's therefore difficult to gauge his process versus his peers, given how much time he has been sidelined the past two years. Still, he established long ago that he possesses major talent.
Muscular, ferocious play highlights McClure's style. He's a bullying driver who loves to lower his shoulders on the move, then rise up for a short jump shot. He also gets to the rim and, while not a dynamic athlete, certainly possesses sufficient hops to score inside.
|When healthy, McClure lights up the scoreboard|
He's also a capable perimeter shooter. McClure squares up nicely and, when given time, is an accurate three-point marksman. He shot a solid 36 percent for the Titans on an economical 16-44 in his 16 games this year. Taking good, open shots should enable him to become a perimeter asset for the Bears as well.
Meanwhile, he also boasts solid defensive potential due to his strength and determination. He should become an asset on that end of the floor.
As mentioned, McClure is just a slightly above-average, not great athlete. He also is a little stiff through the shoulders, making him less effective than some others at maneuvering for a contested shot in the lane.
And I hate to mention it at all, but what about his health/durability? McClure averaged 22 points per game with the Titans (albeit in only five games) during the 2013 travel season and only 11 points per game in 2014. His shooting accuracy dipped from 52 percent to 45 percent. Evening out his production is key.
By far, the top individual priority for McClure this season is to regain his health and confidence. I'd encourage readers to interpret his ranking with an asterisk, because obviously we can't feel hugely confident evaluating a player who has been injured.
If McClure hits full stride over the next 15 months, he could prove to be a national surprise as a freshman. Small sample size caveats apply, but 22 points per game at the Peach Jam as a rising junior is extremely impressive. Not only that, he competes with a vigorous, punishing style that should rub off on his teammates.
Bottom line: Baylor is very happy to have him in the fold with short- and long-term plans for his future.