UNC Basketball: Why James Michael McAdoo’s Breakout Game is Close


Tar Heels freshman power forward James Michael McAdoo came into this season as one of the top five rated recruits.  Landing the distant cousin of UNC legend Bob McAdoo was seen as a huge get for Roy Williams.  McAdoo after all chose Carolina over other schools that offered instant playing time and a potentially faster road to the NBA.  The five star, gold medal winning, two time Virginia High School Player of the Year seemed almost guaranteed to make an instant impact.  In fact, many NBA Mock Drafts had McAdoo going in the lottery of this June’s draft.

Instead, McAdoo has struggled in his freshman season at Chapel Hill.  For the first time in his young life, he was no longer the best player on the roster.  Not only was he no longer the focal point of the teams offensive attack, he wasn’t even in the starting lineup anymore.  Adjusting to this new role, that of a backup big man off the bench hasn’t come easy.  Known as an aggressive, attacking offensive player with guard like skills facing the basket and in the open court coming in.  McAdoo looked out of sorts working in the Tar Heel offense.  Often looking lost moving without the ball and rushed with it in his hands.

Not only was James Michael McAdoo not fulfilling expectations, in many games he wasn’t contributing at all.  He wasn’t just making freshman mistakes, at times, he looked like a walking freshman mistake out on the floor.  Gone was the ferocious finisher and sure handed ball handler with a nice jump shot.  Gone was the confident, dominate, strong rebounding machine he had become at the HS level.  The McAdoo the Heels have seen so far this season has been a timid and overwhelmed freshman.  And that’s all about to change real soon.  And if I’m right, and the feeling I have in my gut about this kid is leading me in the right direction, it’s about to change in a BIG way.

I see a big game coming for James Michael McAdoo, a breakout game.  A game that will not stand alone as a preview of whats to come.  Rather the first of a series of games in which the freshman comes alive, and it’s going to happen this season, before the NCAA Tourney.

Although you can still pencil James in for 1-2 WTF defensive fouls per game.  Overall, the frosh hasn’t looked completely lost in any of the last eight games.  He hasn’t knocked anybody’s socks off yet, but he’s crawling towards it, and I believe he’s going to starting walking and running real soon.

UNCs rotation is tightened up, when Tyler Zeller or John Henson get into foul trouble, it will mean more McAdoo.  You won’t see Desmond Hubert at this point in the season.  Unlike fellow freshman PJ Hairston, McAdoo seems to have sold Roy Williams that he can be the sole big man off the bench.  We’ve seen Henson and Zeller run into a little foul trouble, but nothing major, I’ve been calling for it all year and I still think it’s bound to happen.  The ACC Tournament is never without it’s surprises.  A night with McAdoo playing major minutes for a starter out with foul trouble could easily happen. 

The biggest reason I think McAdoo’s still going to break out this season is simple.  The kids just too good not to bust out.  An athletic freak with an NBA body can only be contained for so long.  And I think it’s been long enough.  I watched McAdoo kill the competition in several HS All-Star games and a couple Jr Team USA games last year.  I have zero doubt in my mind he has it in him and I can’t wait for him to prove me right.

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