What's Next: UNC's power forwards

Looking ahead at North Carolina’s two power forward positions in 2012-13:

Key losses: Starter Tyler Zeller (graduation); starter John Henson (early-entry draft candidate).

Returnees: Sophomore James Michael McAdoo (still pondering whether to leave for the NBA early); sophomore Desmond Hubert; sophomore Jackson Simmons.

Key additions: Freshman Joel James; freshman Brice Johnson.

Question mark: Will McAdoo stay or go?

With both Zeller and Henson gone, the rising sophomore would be the only returning post player with significant experience. McAdoo started three games in place of Henson, and picked up his confidence and pace toward the end of the season -- racing for steals and finishing with dunks. He was even UNC’s leading scorer (15 points) in its Elite Eight loss to Kansas.

His dad, Ronnie, said Monday that James Michael was still pondering his options, and would make a decision about whether to stay in school or leave early for the NBA by the end of the week. Several mock drafts project the 6-foot-9 athlete as a lottery pick.

Player(s) to watch: Whatever McAdoo's decision, the Tar Heels will need significant contributions from newcomers. Junior forward Alex Oriakhi, who plans to transfer from UConn, reportedly has UNC on his list of possible destinations.

And then there are the two incoming freshmen.

Johnson, a 6-foot-9 forward from South Carolina, is “very thin, probably not quite as thin as John [Henson], but he has a quick bounce, can block some shots, can rebound the basketball in a crowd and will be able to score,'' UNC coach Roy Williams said in January. "… He’s another guy that has a big-time upside.”

Meanwhile, Williams has seen the 6-foot-10 James slim down from 330 pounds to 270. “He’s one of the most unique youngsters, one of the funniest youngsters I’ve ever been around. He’s going to be a joy to coach. The sky is the limit for him because he didn’t even play basketball until his sophomore year in high school. I think he’s a youngster that’s going to get better and better as each season goes along, and people are going to love him to death.”

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.