Thursday, April 3, 2014

Impact on UNC: James Michael McAdoo To Go Pro

McAdoo will leave UNC with a rather mixed opinion
of his career in baby blue.
Junior forward James Michael McAdoo has announced he is entering the NBA draft.  It has caught a lot of people off guard because he seemed to be using "we" a lot when discussing next year's Tar Heels squad and ... well ... if hadn't left for the 2012 or 2013 drafts when his stock was a lot higher, why would he do it in this stacked draft where he isn't projected as a first round pick.

Let's get that question out of the way first.  Remember that he has the ability to test the draft waters once during his collegiate career, provided he doesn't sign with an agent.  That way he could work out for teams and attend certain pre-draft camps and see what he needs to work on.  Again, provided he hadn't signed with an agent, he can come back to Carolina and play his senior season.  Since he would be a senior next season, he may as well use this option this spring since he will have to go pro after the next college season anyway.  

That was something that Danny Green did as a junior back in 2008.  Green came back to school, became a starter and helped lead the Tar Heels to the 2009 National Championship.  Now Green is a starter for the NBA's best team, the San Antonio Spurs.  

McAdoo could be doing that.  He won't say so because that would let NBA teams know he isn't seriously in the draft and they won't waste their time on working him out or scouting him.  So he could come back.  But from how everyone is acting and saying around the program, McAdoo is gone.

What are McAdoo's prospects?  Not great.  While he did improve slightly from his sophomore season, it wasn't like he took the world by storm.  Ask any Tar Heels fan and they'll tell you he was as frustrating a player they've seen come through Chapel Hill.  He could have games where he looked dominant.  He could carry the Heels for stretches with great mid-range shooting or (sometimes) attacking the basket.

Or he'll have games like he did against Florida State late in the season where he failed to score a point.  He spent countless games in foul trouble due to bad plays.  He lacks a back to the basket game for a power forward but struggled at times in the small forward role.  He's a poor free throw shooter who doesn't have a tremendous range.

He'll be a classic tweener.  Someone will take a chance on him ... probably in the 2nd round ... because of his pedigree and his size.  From there, it will all be on him.

Where does that leave North Carolina?  Everyone thought he'd be back next season and now he (presumably) won't.

Actually, UNC has it covered.  Right now, the starting lineup is most likely Nate Britt, Marcus Paige, J.P. Tokoto and Kennedy Meeks with McAdoo's spot open.  Bryce Johnson most likely gets the nod.  Johnson has been referred to by some NBA scouts as the Tar Heels' top prospect last season.

It will also clear out some space for the Heels in the frontcourt where they are actually deep.  They have Meeks, Desmond Hubert and Joel James as the main centers.  Johnson, Isiah Hicks and Jackson Simmons will be the main power forwards.  Plus the Heels have wing guys like Tokoto as well as incoming freshmen Justin Jackson and Theo Pinson.  There's plenty of talent.  Granted, McAdoo coming back would make this team better, but it would stunt the growth of others.

Like Reggie Bullock last season, who many questioned his decision to enter the draft after his junior season, it may work out better than people thought.  I hope so.  McAdoo will always be a Tar Heel and I wish him nothing but the best.  

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