Re: 2012/13 Observation Deck
I guess it's not really a surprise he's playing so well given some of the games he had down the stretch last season, but James Michael McAdoo has been a stud so far. I know the competition for UNC hasn't been the greatest, but he's still been phenomenal on a team with a lot of new pieces. He's averaging 21.0 PPG, 11.3 PPG, and is shooting .481 from the field. I'd like to see the FG% up closer to or over 50%, but he's having to adjust to a lot of double teams anytime he catches the ball in the post.
So glad he came back (obviously) because UNC would really struggle to make the NCAA tournament without him. With that said, the four freshmen (Marcus Paige, J.P. Tokoto, Brice Johnson, and Joel James) have shown flashes of what they will probably eventually become; Paige especially. Anyone that's followed UNC closely under Roy Williams knows the learning curve for PG's in his system is a sharp one. While Paige has looked lost and unsure of himself at times, he's actually been pretty good so far. Brice Johnson needs to add weight and get stronger (he couldn't play much tonight because he was being backed down way too easily in the post) but he definitely has good instincts and a good knack around the basket. Joel James, for a player of his size, is a much better athlete than I though. He's still raw as an offensive player but has been better than I expected in that regard. Tokoto doesn't get a ton of time due to UNC's depth on the wing, but he's also shown very brief flashes of being a very solid well-rounded player.
For the second game in a row, after a really ugly first half, UNC came out looking like a completely different team in the second half to put their opponent away. There will definitely be a lot of ups and downs this year, but there's plenty of potential and talent on the team to be pretty dangerous come March. While the rotation is deep (10 players seeing consistent action) it still consists of four freshmen and two sophomores, so I expect some growing pains.
At first thought, after all four of Barnes, Henson, Zeller and Marshall announced they would enter the draft, I thought this season had potential to be another 2009-2010. That season UNC had four new freshmen who saw heavy minutes early on, a returning post player with a ton of potential who was buried behind a deep bench the year before, and uncertainty at the PG position. While it's a little too early to say the season won't be that bad (UNC has been hit hard by the injury bug the last few years), this team just has a different feel to it. Not saying they're a legit Final Four team, but if McAdoo continues to play like this the rest of the season, the freshmen continue to improve, and the 3P shooting comes along, then I could see them being a sleeper Final Four team in the tournament; and by "sleeper" I mean sleeper by UNC standards in that they get in with a 4-6 seed, but things are coming together at the right time, and they get some favorable match-ups in their region.