James Michael McAdoo returning

Updated: April 5, 2012, 8:57 PM ET
By Robbi Pickeral | ESPN.com

North Carolina reserve forward James Michael McAdoo will return to UNC for his sophomore season, the school announced Thursday.

"I love being at Carolina and really enjoy competing with and being around my teammates and am excited about what we can do together next season," McAdoo said in a statement. "Every young basketball player wants to have as much information about his future and understand what others in the game think about him.

"It's been interesting to learn the information that Coach (Roy) Williams has gathered, but I am ready to continue as a Tar Heel. I'm enjoying my time in Chapel Hill and am excited about the future for my team and me."

McAdoo's decision is good news for the Tar Heels, who already have lost four-fifths of their 2011-12 starting lineup to the upcoming NBA draft.

McAdoo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Norfolk, Va., averaged 6.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 15.6 minutes this season. But he came on strong late, particularly when he started three postseason games (two in the ACC tournament, one in the NCAA tournament) in place of junior John Henson, who was sidelined by a sprained left wrist.

As he gained more and more confidence, McAdoo showed the athleticism that made him a McDonald's All-American -- the ability to grab steals in the backcourt, push the fast break and finish with putback dunks. He averaged 10.6 points in his last seven games, including a season-high 15 points during UNC's loss to Kansas in the Midwest Regional final.

His late-season performance pushed him into the lottery of many mock drafts.

McAdoo's parents, Janet and Ronnie, said during a phone interview Thursday that the information they, and UNC's coaching staff, gathered confirmed James Michael likely would have been a lottery pick. But after meeting with his parents at home over the weekend, and then Williams for a second time in Chapel Hill on Wednesday, James Michael McAdoo called his parents on Wednesday night with his decision. After taking all of the emotion out of the decision, and pondering the pros and cons, there were several factors to his choice, they said: his enjoyment of UNC, the chance to improve on his overall game, and the opportunity to mature. "When it's all said and done, he's 19 years old, and he still needs to develop emotionally and physically," Janet McAdoo said. "We told him we were confident he could make transition to the pro game if he wanted to leave -- but one more year with more playing time would make him stronger and tougher, not only just physically, but mentally. And it would give him a chance to lead."

With the loss of UNC starters Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall (who all opted to enter the NBA draft early) plus ACC Player of the Year Tyler Zeller to graduation, McAdoo's return is particularly key because he is now UNC's most experienced post player.

His parents said McAdoo plans to stay at UNC for both summer sessions during the offseason and is excited about building on his last 10 games of the season. "Get out the popcorn, because I think you're going to see even more out of him next season," Ronnie McAdoo said.

Robbi Pickeral covers North Carolina basketball for ESPN.com