North Carolina center Joel James, who has missed three games since suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament against Texas, will likely add another to his total with Sunday’s ACC opener at Wake Forest. The sophomore started the first 10 games for UNC, but went down less than a minute into the Tar Heels' loss to the Longhorns.
“He did participate in some of our [practice] stuff today, but I think it’s a little bit of a push to try to get him there,” coach Roy Williams said. “I’m not going to say completely, but I don’t think so.”
James averages 3.7 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Williams did not say whether Brice Johnson or Kennedy Meeks would start in James’ absence, but both players have struggled when thrust into a starting role. Johnson called his two starts the worst two games he’s played this season.
“I don’t think it had anything to do with starting for Brice. I think he was just in a little bit of a funk,” Williams said. “… I could very easily start Brice again [Sunday].”
Meeks was held scoreless for the only time this season when he made his first career start against UNC Wilmington. Williams believed simply that jitters got the best of Meeks.
“The consistency of his effort is what has been lacking,” Williams said. “He’s had some big-time games.”
Regardless of who starts or who finishes, Williams pointed to rebounding as a key to the game. Wake Forest is outrebounding its opponents by an average of 7.3 per game. “That’s one of the places, in the past, I think we’ve been able to hurt Wake Forest,” Williams said.
• Forward James Michael McAdoo said he doesn’t know where or why he developed shooting a rainbow arc at the free throw line, but he’s worked to flatten it out. McAdoo, who leads the team in free throw attempts (114), is shooting a dismal 57 percent from the line. He said he’s been working with assistant coach Hubert Davis to change his technique.
“As far as from my jump shot, where I don’t have that much arc, transitioning to the free throw line where I was watching film, I was having a lot of arc,” McAdoo said. “I don’t really know where that came from, but it happens, so just minor adjustments.”