UNC Basketball: Leslie McDonald’s Time to Shine


Leslie McDonald was the #32 recruit in ESPN’s Top 100 when he graduated high school in 2009. He is now going into his fifth year on the North Carolina basketball team. There were some high expectations that Leslie never truly lived up to, and that was due to a number of reasons. There were always players that got more playing time ahead of him and a torn ACL that sidelined him for a whole season. He has always been known as a three point shooter and that has been his best attribute throughout his career at UNC. With Reggie Bullock headed to the NBA Draft, many believe that McDonald is next in line to start at the shooting guard position. Tar Heel fans might be worried about McDonald starting next season, but what you are about to read should encourage you. There is a recent trend in Carolina wings that should make the North Carolina fans breathe a little easier.

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

As a freshman he averaged 10.3 mpg, 3.4ppg, and shot 20.8% from beyond the arc. As a sophomore he averaged 15.7mpg, 7ppg, and shot 38.1% from beyond the arc. Then Leslie McDonald tore his ACL. Coach Williams had stated before Leslie got hurt that he was looking like he improved the most and was in a good position to start.For the 2012-2013 season, Leslie averaged 17.7mpg, 7.2ppg, and 36% from beyond the arc.

By taking a look at Reggie Bullock’s career in a Tar Heel uniform, there is one trend with him. That trend being more playing time means more production. As a freshman Reggie averaged 14.5mpg, 6.1ppg, 2.8rpg, 0.6apg and 29.6% from beyond the arc. As a sophomore Reggie averaged 25.4mpg, 8.8ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.4apg, and 38.2% from the 3pt line. In Reggie’s junior year he shined, averaging 31.4mpg, 13.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.9apg, and 43.6% from the 3pt line. See the trend? When Reggie played more he produced more. His stats improved, but stats do not always reflect a player’s true impact on a game. Reggie became more of an impact player than his statistics showed.

PJ Hairston, while he is only going into his junior year, also shows the trend. As a freshman, Hairston averaged 13mpg, 5.7ppg 2.2rpg, .8apg, and shot 27.3% from the 3pt line. As a sophomore, PJ received more playing time and produced more. He averaged 23.6mpg, 14.6ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.4apg, and shot 40% from the 3pt line.

Danny Green, as a freshman averaged 15.3mpg, 7.5ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.1 apg, and shot 35.5% from beyond the 3pt line. As a sophomore, he did not get the same playing time. Danny got less than as a freshman. He averaged 13.6mpg, 5.2ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.1apg, and 29.6% from the 3pt line. His junior year he played 22.3 mpg. He got 11.5ppg, 4.9rpg, 2apg, and shot 37.3% from 3pt line. His senior year, the most recent title year, Danny excelled. He played 27.4 mpg, while getting 13.1ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.7apg, and shot 42% from beyond the arc.

Wayne Ellington as a freshman averaged 23.9mpg, 11.7ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.1apg, and 37.% from the 3pt line. As a sophomore he went 31.1mpg, 16.6ppg, 4.5rpg, 2apg, and 40% from 3pt land. In his final season in a Tar Heel uniform, he went 30.4mpg, 15.8ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.7apg, and 41.7% from 3pt land.

See the trend? The more minutes a Carolina wing receives, the more he produces. Granted there is the experience factor that plays into it, but Tar Heel fans should not be worried. Leslie McDonald will show that he too can produce at a high level when given the minutes in games, just as the wings before him and even now. Leslie McDonald will likely receive many minutes, the only question is if he will produce with those minutes. McDonald is ready to have a great final season in Chapel Hill. It is his time to shine, and he will step up for the Tar Heels this upcoming season.