College Basketball Nation: James McAdoo

McAdoo and Paige lead UNC hot streak

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
Duke and North Carolina enter Wednesday's matchup as two of the hottest teams in college basketball.

Since January 21 (the last three weeks), Duke and North Carolina are No. 1 and No.2, respectively, in BPI.

UNC has been terrific in its last five games, averaging nearly 16 more points per game and 18 more points per 100 possessions compared to its first five conference games.

Much of the improvement has to do with the improved play of James Michael McAdoo and Marcus Paige.

McAdoo is averaging 17 points and eight rebounds per game in his last five games.

McAdoo has especially improved on post-up plays. He's shooting 46 percent on post-ups in his last five games compared to 39 percent in his first 18 games.

McAdoo has been much more active moving around on offense lately, cutting to the basket three times as often in his last five games compared to his first 18 games.

In the first 18 games, he was averaging just 1.5 plays per game cutting to the basket, which represented 10 percent of his offensive plays and 1.3 points per game. In his last 5 games, McAdoo is averaging 4.6 cut plays per game, which represents 26 percent of his offensive plays and four points per game.

Paige has been a more efficient half-court scorer in his last five games. During that span, he's shooting 47 percent on half-court plays compared to 38 percent in his first 18 games.

Paige has especially improved on jump shots. He's shooting 47 percent on jumpers in his last five games, compared to 37 percent in his first 18 games.

On catch-and-shoot jumpers, Paige is shooting 53 percent in his last five games after shooting 36 percent in his first 18 games.

Not only has Paige been more efficient as a scorer, but also as a distributor. He's averaging about two more assists per game with a 2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio over his last five games.

UNC freshman Kennedy Meeks leads the ACC in defensive rebound percentage. But he's only playing 16 minutes per game. Meeks has double-digit rebounds in two of his last four games.

Meeks is also fifth in the ACC in offensive rebound percentage.

North Carolina leads the ACC with 10 post-up points per game, so getting the ball down low could be a key for the Tar Heels.

Limiting Duke’s transition points will also be a key. The Tar Heels lead the ACC in transition defense, allowing 0.90 points per play and 41 percent shooting.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky improved to 7-0 by defeating St. John's 81-59 on Thursday at Rupp Arena in Lexington. Here are some quick thoughts from the game.

How it happened: Defense and intimidation. Kentucky entered the contest averaging 10 blocks per contest. The Wildcats had that many in the first half. Five of them came from Anthony Davis, who swatted 8 for the game. As a team, Kentucky finished with 18. The Wildcats' length clearly rattled the the Red Storm, who missed numerous point-blank layups and failed to draw iron on many of their outside shots. Still, St. John's kept it close early on by taking as much time off the shot clock as possible on each offensive possession. The style kept UK from getting into a rhythm, but John Calipari's squad still managed to pull away in the second half. Kentucky's defense held St. John's to 31.7-percent shooting.

Star of the game: Terrence Jones had 26 points, but Davis was the most impressive player on the court. The freshman showed once again why many scouts believe he'll be the No. 1 player selected in the 2012 NBA draft. Along with his 8 blocks, the 6-foot-10 Chicago native scored 15 points and snared 15 rebounds. He could've easily had a triple-double if Calipari left him in a little longer. It should be noted that Davis' gaudy stat line came against a grossly undersized St. John's team that had little chance of stopping Davis down low. Still, his length, athleticism and motor are impossible to ignore. On one play he blocked a lay-up attempt by Nurideen Lindsey, sprinted down the court and slammed down an alley-oop pass from Marquis Teague.

Other notes: Calipari's father, Vincent, attended Thursday's game and sat behind the Kentucky bench. ... Former Wildcats standouts Brandon Knight and Tayshaun Prince were also in the stands. ... Kentucky's public address announcer asked fans to show their support for St. John's coach Steve Lavin, who is recovering from prostate cancer surgery and missed the game. The Rupp Arena crowd responded with a loud round of applause. ... Assistant Mike Dunlap coached St. John's in Lavin's absence.

What it means: Not a whole lot. Six of the top seven players for St. John's were either freshmen (four) or junior-college transfers (two) playing in their first true road game. Rupp Arena isn't exactly the most welcoming venue. Toss in Kentucky's glaring size advantage, and the Red Storm were doomed from the start. Still, Calipari had to be pleased with the intensity his players showed on the defensive end -- and not just in the paint. Lindsey and D'Angelo Harrison are solid players, yet they could do absolutely nothing on the perimeter thanks to the efforts of guards Doron Lamb, Teague and Darius Miller. Lindsey and Harrison entered the game averaging a collective 28.7 points; they combined for just 6 on Thursday.

What's next: There won't be a nonconference game all season as anticipated as Saturday's showdown between the Wildcats and fifth-ranked North Carolina. In Tyler Zeller, John Henson and James McAdoo, the Tar Heels have the size and depth to match up with Kentucky down low. The guard matchup should be a good one as well. Carolina certainly has the advantage when it comes to experience, but Roy Williams' squad hasn't looked all that sharp lately. The Tar Heels lost to UNLV on Saturday before squeaking by Wisconsin on Wednesday in Chapel Hill. Expect a fun, fast-paced affair that could end up being a preview of the 2012 NCAA title game.
Harrison Barnes' decision to turn down a likely top-five pick and return to North Carolina for his sophomore season immediately propelled North Carolina to the top of most college hoops prospective preseason polls. At this point, the only thing that might keep UNC out of the top spot in October is if Kentucky stars Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones decide to stick around and jockey for time with John Calipari's loaded 2011 recruiting class. (Which seems unlikely, but hey, lockouts are scary. You never know.)

Naturally, Barnes' return got most of us thinking about the players UNC is bringing back: Barnes, forwards John Henson and Tyler Zeller, point guard Kendall Marshall, and so on. It was easy to forget, then, that Roy Williams is adding a rather loaded recruiting class of his own this fall, too.

That class starts with forward James McAdoo, the No. 5 overall player in the class of 2011, according to ESPNU. McAdoo isn't the ultra-talented but raw athletic project type (see: Derrick Favors) we sometimes associate with elite power forward prospects. In fact, ESPNU's recruiting experts see McAdoo as the most polished and fundamentally sound player in the 2011 class. In a normal year, or for almost any other team in the nation, McAdoo would be an immediate starter and likely star. For the 2011-12 Tar Heels, which have three potential lottery picks in the frontcourt in Barnes, Henson, and Zeller, he'll be fighting for time.

Unless, that is, Williams says "screw it" and goes for a video game lineup -- moving Barnes to the two, and wedging McAdoo in on the block with Henson and Zeller. I have no idea if this would work, but it sure sounds enticing. Moral of the story: Carolina will have a stacked frontcourt even when a starter or two is on the bench.

Of course, that doesn't fix UNC's shooting woes -- its biggest Achilles Heel in the past two seasons -- and tending to that problem should be among Williams' top priorities this offseason. Fortunately for him, Williams also has recruit P.J. Hairston, the No. 12 overall player in the incoming class, arriving in Chapel Hill this summer, too. Hairston is touted as an elite shooter, the kind of player who, according to ESPNU's scouts, is made special thanks to his "deep shooting range off the catch or dribble and his ability to get on a roll and knock down two or three in a row before the defense knows what hit it." Despite UNC's offensive excellence last season, no one shot the ball better than 38 percent from 3. Hairston, a Carolina native, could be good enough to do that right away.

Whether Hairston can beat out junior Leslie McDonald (owner of that 38 percent clip last season) or sophomore Reggie Bullock (who arrived in Chapel Hill last season as an elite shooter and impact recruit in his own right) remains to be seen.

But that's kind of the point: The Tar Heels don't just have the best four players from an Elite Eight team coming back. They'll also return a glut of young guards eager to make their mark. And they'll toss two of the best 15 recruits in the country in the mix, too.

In other words, UNC should be more talented, more experienced, deeper, and more skilled in all the right places.

I mean, come on, right? As if this team wasn't scary enough already.

Preseason No. 1? It could be North Carolina

April, 6, 2011
Once again, the attention turns to Harrison Barnes.

Does he leave for the NBA draft or team up with the rest of the Tar Heels to form what could be the top team of the preseason? After leading scorer Tyler Zeller and leading rebounder John Henson announced today they would return to school, the ball is in Barnes' court.

"Harrison is not as far along in his decision-making process as were Tyler and John," coach Roy Williams said in a statement. "I am still gathering information on him from NBA teams and hope to provide him with all of that information by the end of next week."

The info that Barnes already knows is that the Tar Heels would be loaded with returning talent if he stuck around Chapel Hill. Barnes averaged 15.7 points and 5.8 rebounds in a freshman season that saw him get better and better. His return would mean the Tar Heels would expect to have their top seven scorers back.

North Carolina went to the Elite Eight this season behind the improvement of Barnes and the emergence of point guard Kendall Marshall. Barnes coming back as well as the addition of a top recruiting class with McDonald's All-Americans P.J. Hairston and James McAdoo would make the Tar Heels a national title contender.

"We had a great season getting to the Elite Eight, but I would like a chance at going out with another title," Zeller said in a statement.

James McAdoo says he'll stay in high school

June, 22, 2010
Picking the prom over immediately playing for Roy Williams couldn't have been an easy decision for James McAdoo to make, but the North Carolina commit will reportedly return to high school for his senior season rather than take up the offer to graduate and start his college basketball career one year early.

McAdoo, who ESPNU currently ranks as the nation's No. 5 overall recruit in 2011, simply wants to enjoy that final year of high school, according to
"Basically I was telling myself that I wanted to go to Carolina and wouldn’t really mind missing my senior year and the McDonald's Game," he said. "But once I thought about it, it's something that I really wanted to do."

The No. 1 power forward in the Class of 2011, McAdoo said he wanted to enjoy his senior year of high school and attend the prom.

The Tar Heels, searching for frontcourt help since David Wear and Travis Wear transferred to UCLA, have been creatively trying to fill the void.

Justin Knox graduated from Alabama early and will enroll at North Carolina as a graduate student so he can play his senior season of eligibility without sitting out a year.

But with McAdoo deciding to stay in school and recruit Kadeem Jack sticking with his decision to attend prep school, the Tar Heels will have to be patient until more help arrives.
In the past few years, a minor college hoops trend has emerged. Every once in a while -- so sparingly that it can barely be called a trend -- a high school junior decides to graduate high school in three years, forgo his senior season, and become a freshman at his school a year early. As college hoops trends go, this is the new new thing.

Perhaps the most notable recent early-entry case is that of Duke's Andre Dawkins, a top recruit who joined the Blue Devils last year and played well early in the season before eventually seeing his minutes fade down the stretch. A handful of other players have made similar leaps in the past few years. None of them have made a major impact.

That could change soon. James McAdoo, an athletic 6-foot-8 forward from Norfolk, Va., is the No. 3-ranked player in the country in ESPNU's class of 2011. He's also verbally committed to the North Carolina Tar Heels. He is, by all accounts, an impact college player in wait. And he's considering doing what Dawkins did before him -- skipping his senior season at Norfolk Christian High School and heading to Chapel Hill this fall.

The move makes sense. North Carolina is in desperate need of big men after the Wear twins' defection to UCLA earlier this spring. Justin Knox, a transfer from Alabama, will help to alleviate that need, but it's unlikely Knox is a game-changer in the ACC. Which means McAdoo could step in and play right away, at once helping the Tar Heels and proving himself worthy of an NBA lottery pick a year earlier than expected.

There are also problems here. Can McAdoo finish his schoolwork on time? Does he want to miss his senior season? Do his parents want to throw him into the collegiate fire this early? In general, is it healthy for 17-year-olds to be freshmen hoopsters at big, pressure-cooker basketball destinations like North Carolina and Duke?

McAdoo's situation is different from the early-entry decisions we've seen in the past few years, because McAdoo would be far and away the best player to make such a leap in the recent past. If he decides to go, he would effectively become the face of the early-entry trend, as Luke Winn wrote yesterday. McAdoo would be the one high-profile player people associate with "17-year-olds" and "college basketball." And the future of this trend -- whether it moves from sporadic occurrence to legitimate recruiting consideration -- could have a lot to do with how McAdoo performs.

In other words, stay tuned. This one's worth keeping an eye on.