Feb 9, 2013; Coral Gables, FL, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Leslie McDonald (2) shoots over Miami Hurricanes guard Trey McKinney Jones (4) during the first half at the BankUnited Center. Miami won 87-61. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Basketball: What can we expect from Leslie McDonald in 2013?

With college football season getting in the groove, most attention has been shifted to football. However, if there happens to be a UNC basketball article, it’s most likely about something stupid PJ Hairston has done recently.

Your search for a positive, non-PJ Hairston related article ends here, as we will be looking at how senior Leslie McDonald will fit into the rotation after the departure of star Reggie Bullock.

Reggie Bullock will be tough to replace right away, as last season he averaged nearly 14 points a game, 6 rebounds, and shot 43% from 3 point land. Bullock’s decision to turn professional looked like a wise one on his part, as he was picked in the first round by the Los Angeles Clippers.

On the other hand, Leslie McDonald didn’t have a great season, as he struggled most of the year, shooting 35% from the field. Out of the 117 three-pointers McDonald attempted, he only made 42 of them, which isn’t a good percentage to say the least.

Some of McDonald’s struggles can be credited to the fact he might not have been 100%, as he was coming off the ACL injury in the previous season, but nonetheless, UNC needs more from Leslie McDonald this upcoming season.

If I were in Coach Williams’ shoes, my starting lineup might be different from Roy’s lineup, but speculation is that Leslie McDonald will start, and will play a huge role this year, especially depending on how long PJ Hairston will be suspended.

We saw how well the small lineup worked last season and I think the Tar Heels should take a similar approach, but this team has more height than it did last season. With the addition of Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks, the Tar Heels now have some depth behind James Michael McAdoo.

You can expect a good season from PJ Hairston this season assuming he stays out of further trouble, but we really don’t know what to expect from Leslie McDonald. He will be a major X-factor this year, and I believe he will determine how successful this team will be this season.

McDonald has shown great range and excellent shooting. With more playing time and a bigger role, it isn’t out of the question to expect that same potential we saw before he tore his ACL. As the lone senior in the expected starting lineup, McDonald should stand out as the leader of this team; something North Carolina has lacked in recent seasons.

How do you think Leslie McDonald will fit into the rotation for Head Coach Roy Williams? Who is your starting five? Disagree with me? Let your voice be heard in the comment section below.

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Tags: Basketball Leslie McDonald North Carolina Tar Heels PJ Hairston Reggie Bullock Roy Williams

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