In the ramp up to the 2010-11 basketball season, Tar Heel Fan will be profiling key Tar Heels who will likely be major contributors this season. Today’s profile looks at guard Leslie McDonald.
Position: Shooting guard
Weight: 215 lbs
2009-10 Stats and Career: 34 gms, 3.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 30.9 FG%, 65.5 FT%
What Happened Last Season
Leslie McDonald was largely the forgotten man in a forgotten season. McDonald played huge chunks at times and in other stretches not very much. McDonald's had two notable games last season. Well, only one anyone paid attention to and that was against Wake Forest where he scored 16 points and hit two 3-pointers. McDonald also posted 11 versus College of Charleston but too many people were jumping off bridges to care at that point. You always got the feeling McDonald was just on the cusp but could never breakthrough. In other words he is another one of those "showed flashes" players.
Outlook For This Season
McDonald will be called upon to log some key minutes at the two guard. Roy says Dexter Strickland will play PG some and SG that leaves McDonald sharing time with him and Reggie Bullock, that is unless Roy opts to use Bullock on the other wing more. McDonald's role really comes down to being a solid defender and hitting shots when called upon. No one is expecting him to be a scorer but someone who can drain an open three or hold down the fort on the defensive end.
McDonald has to find a niche on this team in which he can be comfortable. That is not always easy and if your playing time is somewhat limited it is very difficult to get into the flow of the game. The question is can McDonald consistently come off the bench and contribute positively to the team on both ends of the floor? It also should be noted that McDonald was a 20% 3-point shooter a year ago. That will need to greatly improve or else he is simply pigeon-hold as out there for defense.
Much like Watts, it is difficult to quantify McDonald in stats since his role is still shrouded in mystery. With UNC only having 10 scholarship players and McDonald largely seen as the ninth guy on that list, getting quality minutes out of him is a must. If McDonald comes into the game, is a good defender and drops a three or two every so often just to keep the opposing defense honest, then he has done his job. The more important aspect is his defense. UNC has enough scoring options this season not to put too much on McDonald to score. He needs to be opportunistic and hustle like heck which has a way of creating all sorts of good things for your team.