The Crusaders would infact defend their state title with a last second lay-up to secure a second straight state championship, 69-67 over Crosby-Waterbury behind MVP McClure's 16 points and 21 rebounds. The win was the 52nd in a row for the Crusaders.
So which was harder? Winning 52 in a row, or repeating as state champions? McClure believes it was the job of repeating since the tournament format changed in 2004.
"This year the top 26 teams regardless of classification were brought into the tournament. Last year it was determined by class of the schools. Last year we won our semifinal game by 44 points, this year we were down 14-2 in our first round game. The competition was so much better, and it meant we had to find new ways to win each time out."
While the Crusaders finished the year 27-0, and kept the win streak alive, McClure admits there were some down times behind the scenes during his career.
"If you look at the scoreboard we had nothing but good times, but there were ups and downs behind the scenes. We all had to grow and mature at our own pace, but in the end we came together an I think we ended up being a great team."
That's a fair statement, but how did McClure become an All-American caliber recruit?
"I think I started to get a lot of publicity during my sophomore season. We were in the state semifinals playing a team that had two transfers. Both were around 6-foot-9 and 230 or 240 pounds. We were down one point and I went up and grabbed a rebound in between them and put it back up for the win."
From there McClure would get interest from most schools in the Big East and ACC before ultimately choosing to attend Duke in May of 2003. With his high school career now ending, he acknowledges that the time is drawing closer.
"I definitely started to think about it more and more, especially with March Madness being here. I mean the atmosphere at the ACC Tournament was incredible, and to think that I'll be there next year is really exciting. I am ready I think, I mean I'll be there with great classmates. I'm also ready to learn from the older guys. Until then I'm just concentrating on getting mentally and physically prepared."
"I think people will be happy with my versatility. I like to hit the boards and rebound. Sometimes I'll take a guard off the dribble, and then on the next possession I'll check the post guy on the defensive end."
While physical gifts are important to becoming a star, a high basketball IQ is something that is nearly as important. McClure believes he has worked hard to improve on that aspect of his game this season.
"I try to figure out how and what I need to do early on each game for us to win. Towards the end of the year I found I could pretty much tell you what I needed to do early on – whether it was scoring, rebounding, or playing defense."
Bringing his total game will certainly be important if McClure wants to crack the top of a loaded Duke rotation, and it's that challenge that appeals to him the most.
"Duke is constantly getting everyone's best shot, and that means there are no easy wins. In high school there are some games that, no matter what you do, you can win by 40. In college each practice will be a challenge because everyone is playing at the same high level. That will translate over into the games."
Speaking of those games, McClure says he's looking forward to the next few weeks of Madness as the tournament winds down. With so many upsets in the first two rounds, he's been left to just wait and watch. He's not the only one.
"My brackets are all messed up. I tried to help out some people at my mom's school, but I think there are going to be a lot of people mad at me."
And who was in his Final Four?
"I picked Duke, Kentucky, Connecticut, and Wake Forest. I didn't pick any further than that though."
McClure will be enrolling at Duke in early June, but will likely be on hand at the annual at Tournament of Champions watching his old AAU running mates in action.