UNC Basketball: As Goes James Michael McAdoo…

UNC depends on James Michael McAdoo more than Coach Roy Williams lets on. It’s no secret that McAdoo is the Tar Heels best player and forewent a first-round draft pick in the NBA to return to Chapel Hill. There’s a lot of pressure on the young man to perform and to lead—as a veteran sophomore on a team of freshmen. His statistics and UNC go hand-in-hand. Let’s see how.

McAdoo is the team leader in both points per game (14.7) and rebounds per game (8.3). He’s the unquestioned leader in NBA potential as well and this season he has played great. Let’s not get carried away here, mistaking that for one minute.

However, James has had disappointing outings in every one of the Tar Heel losses. UNC has lost eight games. McAdoo has 50% or below in all eight of those defeats. Now, for a guard, that might be understandable. All eight, though? He’s a post player. His favorite points are dunks.

It’d be one thing if he’s had mediocre games in all eight of those losses but he hasn’t. He’s had bad games in all eight of those losses. Against Miami twice, Dook, Texas, Virginia, N.C. State, Butler, and Indiana, he struggled. He went 5-14, 3-12, 4-12, 4-11, 4-9, 5-10, 5-11, and 4-15 in order. These are horrible numbers. And what’s the most important part of these bad performances? McAdoo is the leading rebounded by nearly 2.3 rebounds a game. When he shoots, are we expecting Paige to box a couple power forwards out?

James has had a great season. If it weren’t for him, the Tar Heels would be in serious, go-to-the-principal’s-office-for-shooting-spitwads kind of trouble. However, there is a direct correlation to McAdoo’s performance and UNC’s win-loss column. When James plays well, all is right with the world. When McAdoo is off—watch out.

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