It is that time of year.
The Sporting News has released the first of what will be many preseason lists from various media outlets. UNC sophomore James Michael McAdoo shows up as on the preseason All-American team.
Why he’s here: McAdoo is, by far, the least accomplished of Sporting News’ First-Team All-Americans. But he is as talented as any of them, and he has the opportunity to duplicate the reserve-to-star rise pulled off by Kansas’ Thomas Robinson last season. McAdoo was a top five prospect in the class of 2011 and would have started for almost any other team, but Carolina was loaded in the frontcourt last season—three players went in the first round of the NBA draft.
His challenge: With Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes drawing NBA paychecks, McAdoo will be UNC’s first scoring option. McAdoo showed flashes of his immense talent—17 points in 23 minutes against Vermont in the NCAA opener and 15 points in 19 minutes against Kansas in the Elite Eight—but his production must be consistent throughout the season.
What to expect: There might be an early adjustment period, but there’s a reason NBA scouts considered him a potential top 10 pick if he would have left UNC after last season. McAdoo, who averaged 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game, has great touch around the rim and a knack for offensive rebounding. The Heels are deep in the backcourt, but it’s McAdoo’s production in the paint that will make them an outstanding team.
This is no surprise. McAdoo's showed at the end of the season he could be poised for huge sophomore season. McAdoo will be playing starter minutes and be the Heels' top(only?) interior scoring option. Since UNC has plenty of perimeter scoring in P.J. Hairston, Reggie Bullock and Leslie McDonald there will be plenty of spacing on the floor to get McAdoo the ball.
The two potential obstacles to McAdoo's success are point guard play and a lack of production from other interior position. UNC's options at point guard are Dexter Strickland, who should be above average at the position or freshman Marcus Paige. Strickland is returning from a torn ACL and Paige is a true freshman which means the point guard position is an unknown commodity at this stage. Aside from that, no one knows who will start at center for the Heels and how that players will impact, positively or negatively, McAdoo's ability to score.