The 6-foot-9 junior ranks among the Atlantic Coast Conference's leaders in scoring, rebounding and shooting percentage in league games. He's also looking more assertive and at times more emotional on the court heading into Saturday's game against rival North Carolina State, helping the Tar Heels win two straight after a 1-4 ACC start.
"The biggest thing is my teammates are just finding me in good locations on the court as far as where I feel comfortable at scoring," McAdoo said Friday. "And I'm still trying to remain aggressive for 40 minutes, even though that doesn't necessarily mean taking a lot of shots. On the defensive end, (I'm) just doing a lot of talking and communicating, and that really just helps on the offensive end."
In ACC games, McAdoo's scoring average is up slightly to 15.3 points and he's grabbing one more rebound per game (7.3) while shooting nearly 56 percent, which is good for No. 2 in the conference.
McAdoo is second on the team in scoring to sophomore guard Marcus Paige on the season, but he doesn't dominate the ball or fire up a lot of shots. In fact, McAdoo has shot between nine and 13 attempts in every league game
"I look at James Michael's percentage much more than I do the shot attempts, much more," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "I want him to be aggressive, I want him to be active. ... He might have been shooting the same number of shots earlier. But I know his field-goal percentage or his success (earlier) was not near like it is right now."
He's also been more aggressive in attacking the paint instead of settling for a midrange jumper. He's attempted 50 free throws in seven ACC games, more than the next three teammates combined for the Tar Heels (13-7, 3-4 ACC).
The only hiccup of late has been converting on those extra chances. He's shooting 42 percent from the line in league games.
Overall, McAdoo has scored in double figures for 13 straight games and has scored at least 15 points in four of the past five. He had 17 points and five rebounds in Wednesday's win against Georgia Tech despite playing just 18 minutes due to foul trouble heading into Saturday's matchup with the Wolfpack (14-7, 4-4).
"I think he gets it more where he's effective with it inside," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. "And I do think he's been very aggressive. He's getting to the rim. He's trying to take the ball to the basket. He's stepping up and playing.
"You've got to remember he's a highly, highly rated guy and is a really good player. He's beginning to play right now this year I think his best basketball, it seems that way."
McAdoo was a McDonald's All-American who came in as a touted freshman playing behind eventual NBA first-round picks Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller up front. He was a second-team all-ACC pick as a sophomore, though he struggled at times adjusting to a leading role.
Right now, he said he's "very comfortable and very confident."
"I'm not really a volume shooter," McAdoo said. "That's not really North Carolina basketball, where you have one guy taking 20 shots. But I'm just trying to be productive out there in everything I do with the time that I'm out there."