James Michael McAdoo is having a very good season by most standards, but when you are a preseason All-American and the guy who is supposed to lead North Carolina back into the tournament and help fans forget about Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall the type of season McAdoo has had is just not good enough. McAdoo showed on Saturday why he was chosen for those preseason accolades and gave us a glimpse of just how good he truly can be.
McAdoo was nearly unstoppable, he scored on offensive rebounds, he got out in transition, he made his free throws and he knocked down the mid range shot. He played under control for the most part (yes I know he had five turnovers, the good still out shined the bad). He found ways to show off his athleticism over and over again and he led a Carolina team playing without P.J. Hairston and with a struggling Reggie Bullock and he did it with confidence.
Here’s what Roy Williams said about McAdoo’s performance:
“He showed a lot of discipline and maturity the whole game because I was so mad at him in the first five minutes. He tried to dribble through a crowd and had Marcus wide-open on the edge, so I sat him down and let him think about it. We talked yesterday about everybody taking good shots and good shots are where your feet are set and you have a strong base. I thought he was sensational after the first five minutes. He can shoot the ball, but his problem is that he really rushes. He carried us in the long stretch.”
Without McAdoo playing like he did on Saturday the fact is this Tar Heels team will not go far. I don’t care how well Bullock, Hairston or Marcus Paige who had a brilliant game also play, UNC needs their big man to come up big night after night. I think a big reason why McAdoo struggled and Roy talks about this all the time is that the expectations were too high too early. I’ve heard a lot of grumbling from the fan base about McAdoo “sucks” or will “never be an NBA player” that stuff is hogwash he’s a tremendously gifted player who needs to fine tune parts of his game and get better between his ears. Is this the start of something beautiful?