UNC Basketball: 5 freshman that would have started for other programs

SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 27: Marvin Williams
SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 27: Marvin Williams /
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SYRACUSE, NY – JANUARY 11: James Michael McAdoo
SYRACUSE, NY – JANUARY 11: James Michael McAdoo /

James Michael McAdoo

James Michael McAdoo committed to the University of North Carolina as a consensus five-star prospect in 2011.

Thanks to his tremendous athleticism and play-making abilities, McAdoo was touted as a top-10 player by just about every recruiting outlet in the nation. Because of that, and his relationship with former Tar Heel and NBA Hall-of-Famer Bob McAdoo, he arrived on campus with a lot of expectations.

To say that he was a letdown at UNC would be unfair, particularly because he spent a large portion of his time there playing out of his natural position. There are those, though, who believe that he’d have been more effective, and more well-served, to have played for a different program with a roster more conducive to his game.

SYRACUSE, NY – JANUARY 11: James Michael McAdoo
SYRACUSE, NY – JANUARY 11: James Michael McAdoo /

From the time that McAdoo replaced the injured John Henson in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, to the time that Roy Williams decided to run with a smaller lineup the following season, McAdoo was used primarily at the 5-spot.

The position that he’d play in high school, and the one he’d been recruited to play at North Carolina, was the 4-spot. And while that might seem like a small difference to the casual observer, the two positions can be very different.

Having said all of that, McAdoo did, in fact, have a successful run with North Carolina from 2011 to 2014, and he’d likely have started from day one for a number of other teams.

Although he didn’t get many minutes on a stacked 2011-12 squad, he did have a nice tournament run for the Tar Heels when filling in for Henson. He averaged 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game as a freshman.

He earned second team All-ACC honors as a sophomore and junior, scoring better than 14 points and seven rebounds per game over the two-year span.

After a 24-10 record and second-round exit from the 2014 NCAA Tournament, McAdoo left school to pursue a career in the NBA. Although he’s bounced back and forth between the NBA and the G-League, McAdoo did have a successful run as a reserve for the Golden State Warriors.