With news that North Carolina junior John Henson is better than 50-50 in terms of his status against Creighton. And assuming that Henson will play effectively for the Tar Heels once he does indeed comeback. This has done freshman James Michael McAdoo a ton of good and may be a blessing for the team down the stretch. McAdoo’s sudden emergence reminds me a whole lot of former Carolina big men who played big roles as freshman off the bench for UNC in the tournament.
Marvin Williams and Ed Davis, both future NBA lottery picks as many project McAdoo will be one day were huge for their teams in the tourney. Williams catapulted his stock so high that he was taken #2 in the NBA Draft following his sophomore season. Each players style is vastly different. Williams was the classic “tweener” a power forward with the athleticism and outside shot to warrant minutes at the small forward, making him an extremely valuable asset of the bench. Davis was your classic skinny big man with tons of length. Not quite John Henson length, but you get the idea. Davis was a shot blocker how provided tough post play and a decent mid range jump shot from the foul line in. Both provided huge sparks off the bench for Roy Williams and became reliable players who could be counted on for big minutes when called upon.
Coming into the season, McAdoo was supposed to be exactly that from the gate. The talented, athletic, five star, hyped five star recruit with legendary Tar Heel bloodline, it seemed, everything would fall into place for the freshman. Early in the year, McAdoo struggled to find his place and struggled to fit into his role. Towards the end of the regular season, you could see the confidence building in his game and he was looking more and more comfortable on both ends of the floor. Gone is the clueless, tentative freshman from the beginning of the season. This is the McAdoo we expected, or so we hoped. Confirmation has come since the Henson injury in the ACC Tournament. McAdoo has started each of the last three games and has put up two career nights, coming up big when finally given the opportunity. I’ve long been waiting for and calling for a breakout game or series of games that would end the drought. While we haven’t seen anything crazy like a 20+ point 15+ rebound, flawless effort by the freshman, yet. We have seen a player that is contributing on the floor, making less mistakes, providing a strong rebounding presence and a reliable inside offensive threat.
While we all hold our breath and wait for John Henson to return to the lineup and affirm our national championship hopes. Here comes James Michael McAdoo!