Feb 28, 2013; Clemson, SC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Leslie McDonald (2) shoots the ball while being defended by Clemson Tigers guard Jordan Roper (20) during the first half at J.C. Littlejohn Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Basketball: The X Factor - Leslie McDonald

As the 2013-2014 college basketball season rapidly approaches, there are a few questions surrounding the North Carolina Tar Heels. First off there is the whole P.J. Hairston saga, know one has a clue who will start at center but the key to the season could very well be senior shooting guard Leslie McDonald.

Overall the Tar Heels are deep team but when it comes to shooting guard position there pretty thin, and if P.J. Hairston is still suspended when the season starts (which is likely) expect even more responsibility to be placed on Mr. McDonald’ s shoulders. The 6’5 Memphis,Tennessee native has had an up and down 4 years in Chapel Hill and now its time for him show some leadership and become a more consistent player. Just look back at last season, Leslie started the year off playing well but after an injury and some academic troubles he never was the same. With Dexter Strickland graduating and Reggie Bullock leaving early for the NBA Roy Williams and the Tar Heels will be counting on #2.

First and foremost McDonald has to stay healthy, if he can do that I expect him to play more like he did early last season. If Carolina has Final Four aspirations McDonald’s success is vital, If he struggles a run in March becomes less likely because at this point there isn’t much behind him. Sophomore small forward J.P. Tokoto  is very athletic and is a good defender but his jump shot has ways to go, to be honest his offensive game as a whole is a work in progress and that could cost him some court time. Freshman point guard Nate Britt will also be in the mix, however I don’t expect a whole lot from him (especially early in the season) because he may not be ready to become a solid contributor just yet. Realistically Britt will mostly spell starting point guard Marcus Paige and he will get some “PT” when Paige slides over to play the “two”.

See Why McDonald is so important?

We all know he can shoot, he can create his own shot, as well as defend a little bit but if he’s not confident it all goes to waste. Throughout his time at Carolina McDonald has shown glimpses of being a solid player but for some reason when it goes bad for him it goes bad. He has poor shot selection, his defense suffers and team can’t afford that this season. Leslie must stay confident no matter what happens and if he can play up to his potential and everyone else meets expectations, know one will want to play Carolina come March!

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Tags: Basketball Leslie McDonald North Caroina Tar Heels Roy Williams

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