North Carolina Tar Heels: Spider-man

McAdoo a superhero in his own right

November, 1, 2013
11/01/13
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Junior forward James Michael McAdoo admittedly tried to take on too much for North Carolina at times last season. That’s evidenced by his team-leading 96 turnovers.

McAdoo earned second-team all-ACC honors as a sophomore, leading the Tar Heels in rebounding (7.3 per game), total steals (54) and was second in scoring (14.4 per game). Though he has do-it-all talent, McAdoo knows he doesn’t have to play the Superman role for the Tar Heels.

Just please don’t ask him if he’s more comfortable having a sidekick role, like Robin to Batman.

[+] EnlargeJames Michael McAdoo
Bob Donnan/USA TODAY SportsJames Michael McAdoo, who led North Carolina in rebounding as a sophomore in 2012-13, is a co-captain this season.
“I’d love to be the villain. I’d love to be Bane; let me say that first off,” McAdoo said. “Bane is awesome, bro. You’ve seen Batman, he does he own thing; he marches to the beat of his own drum.”

McAdoo does, too – minus the pummeled carnage that the comic book character tends to leave behind. He’s twice stiff-armed the NBA draft to return to Chapel Hill, despite the likelihood of being a first round pick.

McAdoo arrived on campus as a highly-touted freshman who seemingly was primed to be the next honored jersey in the Dean E. Smith Center rafters. He had well-publicized credentials, including the 2009 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year award. He was the youngest player to ever receive that honor, one that Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins and Sean May once held.

Fair or not, no player on the current roster has had to carry the gift and the curse of great expectations like McAdoo. But he really isn’t concerned with whether or not he’s viewed as the go-to guy on the team.

“At the end of the day, if I’m the best player on the team taking the last shot or if I’m the guy standing at the end of the bench, I just want the team to win,” he said.

Obviously, if McAdoo is at the end of the bench this season, something went terribly wrong. UNC coach Roy Williams, unwittingly played the role of Uncle Ben to McAdoo’s Peter Parker by naming him a co-captain.

“That also comes with a lot of responsibility; everyone has heard the Spider-Man quote,” said McAdoo, referring to the line, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

“Every day I have to show up ready to work because everyone is going to be looking at me. That’s not just game days, but that’s in the classroom, in meeting out on Franklin Street.”

McAdoo will again find himself in a new position at times this season. He’s glad the move is in the opposite direction from last season. Instead of asking him to play bigger, moving to center in the Heels' four-guard lineup, they’ll ask him to play small forward. He joked that no one on the team is happier of the potential use of a big lineup, adding, “I don’t even want to talk about if I were to move back to center this year.”

But like playing center, small forward has caused him to prepare differently.

“I just tried to work on not turning the ball over and just being really consistent when I am out there,” McAdoo said. “It’s been just like playing the five; it’s a whole new set of challenges.”

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