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ACC basketball: Miami’s McClinton makes mark in ACC

By Don Markus
The Baltimore Sun
Jack McClinton’s path to college basketball stardom at Miami was not a direct route, but it was not nearly as bumpy as it might seem given the number of stops he made after leaving Baltimore nearly six years ago.
There was the year McClinton spent at South Kent School after graduating from Calvert Hall. Unlike many of his teammates at the prep school in rural Connecticut, McClinton was mostly there to work on his game, not his grades.
It often included one-on-one matchups in the middle of the night against Dorell Wright, now with the Miami Heat.
“They would say lights out at 12. We’d wait about an hour for our dorm parents to go to sleep, we’d sneak out and run down to the gym,” McClinton recalled. “We were kind of in the middle of nowhere. We were scared to go back in the dark. You’d never know what you’d see. You might see bears or something.”
While Wright went directly to the NBA, there were not many Division I basketball offers for McClinton, who ended up at Siena outside Albany, N.Y. One of the top freshmen in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, McClinton would have stayed had not his coach, Rob Lanier, been fired at the end of the season.
“I had a great, strong relationship with Coach Lanier, and when he left, I felt something of me left also,” McClinton said.
McClinton’s father, Jack, sent out highlight tapes to a number of schools.
“Every shot was a make ó there were no misses,” the younger McClinton said with a laugh. “When I saw that (Miami) was going to offer me a scholarship, I saw that Robert Hite was a senior and Guillermo Diaz was probably going to leave early, so I knew the year I sat out I could get that much better and maybe come in and play right away.”
McClinton has turned those moments in the privacy of practice into a regular occurrence in the ACC. During an 11-day stretch this season, McClinton scored 32 points against Wake Forest, 34 against Duke and 35 against North Carolina.
Going into the ACC Tournament that begins Thursday, McClinton is considered one of the nation’s most dangerous long-distance shooters.
He led the ACC and finished third in the country in three-point shooting (46.4 percent).
“I always could shoot the ball,” McClinton said. “Whenever I shoot the ball, I try not to toe the line. I step back, because you never know when you’re going to get that space. Being a shooter, you don’t always get that space. You have to extend that range.”

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