McClinton Ends Slump

Last week, sophomore Guard Jack McClinton had his best game in the last month, scoring 18 points on 7-16 shooting in a loss to Virginia Tech. Miami's star guard and leading scorer was in the midst of a month long slump, and had not scored better than 17 points since December 9th.

"It just comes down to making all the shots and being free and fun and not thinking. I was in a slump," McClinton said about the past month. "I was always thinking about the last game instead of looking forward to the future. I needed to put those games behind me and just keep rolling with it. I started the season off really well and people asked me how long I could keep it going. I always told them that I was going to ride the wave until it stopped, and when the wave stopped, I'd have to recuperate. I've done that and now I just need to stay positive and focused."

The wave Jack McClinton is referring to is the first half of the season, where McClinton was the leading scorer in the ACC and averaged over 20 points a game. Since then, he had seen his points per game average and shooting percentage steadily drop until last Tuesday against Virignia Tech, where he scored 18 points and shot 44 percent from the field.

How'd he bust out of his slump?

"There wasn't really any added pressure, but there was a lot of stuff that was going on, like my injury. I just had to stay focused and strong and not let those things get to me or stop me from playing. Learning how to play with distractions was a key. You're not going to be 100% all season, you may get a tweak here or there, but you have to play through it."

"It was weighing on me a little bit but I just had to go out there and play free without thinking about it."

If his last game is an indication that he has busted out of his slump, then it comes at a crucial point in the season. Miami is 9-12 and in danger of not making any kind of postseason tournament. The schedule isn't particular forgiving either. Their next game is against #4 ranked North Carolina at Chapel Hill. McClinton explained the keys to victory.

"North Carolina has always been a good team, in the past and now in the present. They get the best players in the country, so that means we're going to have to work extra hard. We can't have any minor mistakes. Second shots, turnovers, leaving the baskets, and we just have to take our shots when they are available."

"We just have to be more aggressive. In the second half of our last game, you saw more people driving and people not afraid to take the open shot. First half we've been more passive, trying to get started and warmed up, but we have to come out with a bang right away. We have to be aggressive right away, and that's what you saw us do in the second half against Virginia Tech. We just have to do that and work on our transition defense, because they get a lot of transition points. If we cut down on that I think we'll be pretty good."

The ‘Canes had some time off recently, in preparation for the long road ahead. They took two days off of practice. McClinton spent that time at the gym working on his game.

"I tried to work on my game and get sharper," he said about what he did on his time off. "I'm not sure what the other players did, I'm sure they hit the gym too. I just tried to stay in the gym and stay sharp. We had good practices this week and we're just taking it day by day."

He insists that team spirit and morale remains high despite the recent string of losses, and maintains that the team knows what it needs to do.

"Everybody knows there's still a lot more games left," he said. "No ones going to be down. We lost a few straight, but it's only going to get tougher. We can either turn it all in now or turn it up and keep playing."

Canes Time Top Stories