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Season Analysis: James Michael McAdoo

Season Analysis: James Michael McAdoo

By Adam Lucas

Season stats: 14.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg

Per-40 minute stats: 19.3 P, 9.8 R

Season in a sentence: The expectations--and potential--for McAdoo are perhaps best crystallized by the fact that he had a second-team All-ACC season...while everyone wanted him to do more.

Season highlights: McAdoo led the team in rebounding by a fairly wide margin, as you would expect from the team's primary post threat. He also held the team scoring lead for much of the season before being edged by P.J. Hairston at the wire.

McAdoo was terrific in the season opener against Gardner-Webb, when he had a career-high 26 points (granted, on 20 shots) to go with a career-high 14 rebounds:

Seven more double-digit scoring performances in a row followed, and he eventually had four double-doubles in the first eight games. He was strong in the home win over UNLV, as he had six straight points to help the Tar Heels recover from a 49-48 second-half deficit, and finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.

He had three straight double-doubles in the middle of the ACC season, hitting double figures in points and rebounds at NC State (when he played well but was limited by early foul trouble), at Boston College and at home against Virginia Tech. He was big on the road again with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four steals in the win at Georgia Tech, and might have had his most efficient outing of the season in a 21-point showing at home against Florida State, as he was 10-of-15 from the field. Seventeen of his points came in the first half of that game and were a big reason why the Tar Heels held a 46-27 halftime lead.

That half included this sweet alley-oop dunk on a pass from P.J. Hairston, with the added bonus of Marv Albert on the TV commentary:

McAdoo isn't typically thought of as a defensive player-other than his trademark midcourt steal-and-dunks-but he won the team's defensive player of the game award six times, third-most on the roster.

Did someone say midcourt steal and dunk? How about a reverse jam against NC State:

"James Michael McAdoo, at least once a game, is going to OK-doke you, folks." Not exactly sure what that means, but it's true.

McAdoo, as mentioned above, made second-team All-ACC, and he's just the fourth Tar Heel in the Roy Williams era to rank in the team's top two in scoring and rebounding and return the next year. 

Against the ACC: Both McAdoo's per-40 scoring (18.5) and rebounding (9.2) dipped just slightly against the league from his overall per-40 averages. His field goal and free throw percentages were down against ACC opponents, but his turnovers per game were also down.

The switch to the smaller rotation seemed to flummox McAdoo at first, as he had rare single-digit scoring performances at Duke (nine points, eight rebounds) and at home against Virginia (nine points, 10 rebounds). But he recovered with the fine outing at Georgia Tech, and was in double figures for the rest of the season.

However, that 22-point, 11-rebound showing in Atlanta was his last double-double of the season. His rebounding dropped significantly over the final ten games of the season (when he was occasionally limited by a bad back), as he averaged just 6.1 rebounds per 40 minutes in that stretch.

Postseason: Foul trouble was an issue in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals (a season-low 14 minutes after picking up his third foul 14 seconds into the second half) against FSU and the semifinals against Maryland. In sporadic duty against the Seminoles, McAdoo still managed to shoot 6-for-9 and contribute 12 points. He added 13 points and eight rebounds against the Terps, plus two key shots from a surprising source--the free throw line, where he hit two shots with 2:19 remaining that gave the Tar Heels a more comfortable five-point lead.

McAdoo struggled from the field (35.5%) in the NCAA Tournament, but his ten first-half points helped Carolina build a big early lead against Villanova. Overall, he averaged 14 points and five rebounds per game in the Tar Heels' two-game NCAA stay. He also had four steals against Kansas.

Areas of improvement: This might seem like an odd combination, but McAdoo needs to slow down a little...while also being more decisive. Find a go-to move that works and stick with it, and figure out how to use his dribble to be effective rather than just kill time. When that happens, his turnovers will decrease.

His rebounding could be more consistent, but you have to remember that he was usually outsized and playing out of position.

Free throw shooting, which went down from his freshman year, is an area of concern and must get better, especially for a player who is not a bad shooter overall fundamentally. Some of his free throw woes appeared to be linked to a confidence issue at the line.

Season stats: 14.9, 8.2: McAdoo's points and rebounds averages with Carolina's "tall" rotation in the first 23 games of the season.

13.5, 5.8: McAdoo's points and rebounds averages with Carolina's smaller rotation in the final 13 games of the season.

37.9%: McAdoo's field goal shooting percentage in Carolina's 12 games against NCAA Tournament teams.

Adam Lucas is a GoHeels columnist and the editor of CAROLINA, the official weekly athletics digital publication.

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