Ronnie McAdoo said he believes his son, North Carolina freshman forward James Michael, will return to UNC for his sophomore season.
“He’s coming home this weekend, and we’ll talk about the pros and cons; he’ll weigh the decision,’’ McAdoo said Tuesday. “But right now, his mother and I expect to see him in a Tar Heel uniform again next season."
McAdoo, a reserve forward, averaged 6.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 15.6 minutes as a freshman. But he came on strong late in the season, 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 steal balls out of the backcourt and finish on the other end, to sky so high for putback jams that he looked like he was spiking the ball through the rim.
He was also the Tar Heels’ leading scorer (15 points) when UNC lost to Kansas last Sunday in the Midwest Regional final, and his late-season performances pushed him into the lottery of many mock drafts. ESPN’s Chad Ford currently lists him at as seventh in his top 100.
“He really did play well at the end of the year … as he grew more and more comfortable playing with his teammates, and they grew comfortable playing with him,’’ Ronnie McAdoo said. “…But to be honest, you haven’t seen what James Michael can really do yet. Here’s a kid that can put the ball on the floor, finish with dunks, alley oops, shake the 3. … I think we’ll see more and more of that.”
Indeed, with ACC Player of the Year Tyler Zeller graduating – and Henson (as well as small forward Harrison Barnes and point guard Kendall Marshall) mulling the possibility of leaving early for the NBA – McAdoo would likely start as a sophomore, as well as be UNC’s main scoring option in the post.
Ronnie McAdoo said the final decision as to whether to stay in school or leave early will rest with his son; he said he did not know if James Michael had met with coach Roy Williams yet.
Underclassmen have until April 10 to declare for the NBA draft, as per NCAA rules.
“We’re excited that James had the opportunity to show what he can do on the big stage,” Ronnie McAdoo said. “The plan right now is for him to come back [to school]. But we will discuss it more this weekend.”
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