Tuning Out the Noise
Inside Carolina
Posted Jul 1, 2013

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – James Michael McAdoo acknowledges that he bought into lofty expectations following his freshman year at North Carolina. Now entering his junior season, the 6-foot-9 forward has dismissed those ever-present expectations and is focused on individual growth.

McAdoo was thought to be locked in as a top-five NBA draft pick after a strong close to his rookie season, and he would have likely been a top-20 pick in last week’s draft.

Yet while Reggie Bullock was leaning toward leaving early during the 2012-13 season, McAdoo was leaning in the opposite direction. During a recent sit-down with reporters, UNC’s top returning post player said he had no second thoughts about his decision to return to school even after seeing Bullock shoot up the draft board.

“For me, the biggest thing was just stepping back and looking at the type of player I want to be when I get ready to make that decision to go to the next level and knowing that I still have some areas of improvement that I want to work on,” McAdoo said. “… I want to be able to master the college game before I take that next step.”

It seems that McAdoo is done with the hype and talk of potential that follows talented players throughout high school and college. Instead of paying attention to those projections, he’s turned his attention to improving his body and his game, regardless of what press clippings or analysts might suggest.

“Last year I felt like I accepted those expectations, but I didn’t really do anything with them,” said McAdoo, who averaged 14.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season. “I didn’t work as hard as I should have in the offseason. I feel like I took some of the success toward the end of my freshman year and felt like that was just going to keep going and carrying over into the next year.”

That speaks to maturation and experience. McAdoo’s mental game has evolved, and that’s not referring to learning plays and understanding Roy Williams’ up-tempo system. That aspect of the game has always come easy, according to McAdoo. Realizing the value of work ethic, however, is a different matter.

“I have goals here and I have things that I want to accomplish and they’re not just going to fall into my lap,” McAdoo said. “Especially as an individual, but more so as a team.”

Offseason workouts are the breeding ground for individual growth. With limited contact with coaches, players hit the weight room and the gym to strengthen their weaknesses and add new elements.

McAdoo’s offseason goals are admittedly clichéd as he’s working on “almost everything,” which includes new post moves, ball handling and perimeter skills.

“I think the biggest thing is just working as hard as I can,” McAdoo said. “That’s what the offseason is for – to improve as an individual. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to have a great year this year.”

There are team aspects involved with summertime, though. Team chemistry is in its infancy before the fall semester starts back and a lack of leadership was evident during the summer months last year.

McAdoo told reporters that he’s worked to take on a leadership role now instead of waiting until his team is down late in a critical game during the season.


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