James Michael McAdoo Foregoes Final Season, Declares For NBA Draft

Carolina basketball junior forward James Michael McAdoo announced his intent to forego his final year of eligibility as a Tar Heel and enter the 2014 NBA Draft.

McAdoo scored 1,232 points and hauled in 640 rebounds in 108 games as a Tar Heel player. In his three seasons in Chapel Hill, the Norfolk, Va. native averaged 11.4 points and 5.9 rebounds.

He made the second-team All-ACC team his sophomore and junior seasons.

“I just feel I am ready to play at the next level and excited about that challenge. I had chances to go after my freshman and sophomore years but was more excited about coming back to school then. Right now I am excited about fulfilling my dream to play in the NBA and do what I have to do to take that next step,” McAdoo says.

McAdoo also says he plans to return to Chapel Hill to finish out his degree in the future.

To most observers, it was a surprising decision given McAdoo’s love for the college game and his at best, second round NBA draft projections.

Head Coach Roy Williams says he’s excited for McAdoo’s next step in his career, but that he’s also disappointed he won’t have an opportunity to coach him again.


Marcus Paige, Fellow Students Athletes Share Challenges & Triumphs During UNC Academic Experience

UNC basketball’s Marcus Paige was joined by five other student athletes Thursday to share testimony about the challenges and triumphs they have experienced during their academic careers at the University, which was in sharp contrast to the claims made earlier this week by two former Carolina football players.

Paige, a star point guard and second-team Academic All-American, spoke during the presentation called “A day in the life of a student athlete,” before the UNC Board of Trustees. He was joined by three UNC football players, Ryan Switzer, Tim Scott and Kemmi Pettway, gymnast Michelle Ikoma, and softball great, pitcher Lori Spingola.

“We know how hard we work in the classroom. It is not fair to us to get all of that negative attention when we spend so much time working so hard to get a degree just like everyone else,” Paige said.

Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said it was a chance to give the Trustees “a representation” of the more than 800 student athletes who attend UNC.

“We frequently just view [student athletes] when they are competing, but this is another opportunity to get them off the fields, out of gyms, and talk to them as real students,” Cunningham said.

The athletes gave positive reviews of the academic support they have received so far, championing various leadership programs and tutoring initiatives, such as MAP, or “My Academic Plan,” which provides additional academic support for athletes who need it.

That was not the same sentiment shared this week regarding UNC’s academic influence on its athletes. On Tuesday, two new, former Carolina football players, Deunta Williams and Byron Bishop, said, each on separate HBO and ESPN programs, that they were encouraged to take no-show classes in order to retain their athletic eligibility during their collegiate careers.

Along with Williams, whistle-blower Mary Willingham, a former athletic tutor, also appeared in the ESPN documentary.

Cunningham did not directly comment on the two specials that aired this week, saying that he wanted to focus on the students currently enrolled at UNC. He said that he wanted to concentrate on providing the maximum number of opportunities for athletes to play collegiate sports and creating a solid educational experience for student athletes once enrolled.

Paige shared that he and his teammates tried to not pay attention to the negative press swirling around UNC, adding that “we all can read and write.”

“There was definitely no one telling us what we had to do or what classes [to take], or even pushing us or suggesting a major,” Paige said.

Trustee Dwight Stone said the school has taken some “undeserved shots in the media” regarding athletic/academic relations. He said that no one could realize the time and effort it takes to be a student athlete at Carolina unless they “walked in their shoes.”

In January, Willingham raised questions about the literacy levels of past Tar Heel basketball and football players as documented in the now infamous CNN article. Her research also prompted concerns about past admission guidelines under which many athletes were enrolled.

In response, UNC officials said then that there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” policy in judging applicants and that some students are admitted for their “special talents.”

Switzer shared that football provided him the chance to go to Carolina that he wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

“I am not ashamed to admit that I wouldn’t be at a university like this is if it weren’t for my athletic ability,” Switzer. “I was a decent student in high school, but this University is so high that I couldn’t get here on academics alone. Football has created a lot of opportunities for me that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t play it.”

Switzer said that is was often “a struggle” to manage both roles as a student and an athlete, but he thought that his fellow student athletes were some of the “most disciplined” people he had ever met.

He also said that he originally wanted to major in nursing but decided not to because of the time commitment.

Cunningham said that “time,” or lack of it for student athletes, was another concern.

“I think we should really take a hard look at time and see if there is a better way to organize the day so that student [athletes] can get a full educational experience,” Cunningham said.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said that all student athletes struggle with time constraints. She said that the University’s mission is to help them find balance.

“My goal is to help them find a way to get the classes and the majors that they want, while also being able to achieve the excellence that they want,” Folt said.

Folt and Willingham To Meet

Folt confirmed that Willingham had contacted her about setting up a time to meet, to which Folt agreed.

“She gave me an agenda and said that she would like to share her personal story with me and that she would like to share her opinion with me about athletics and academics,” Folt said.


San Antonio Setback: Tar Heels Swept Aside By Cyclones 85-83

The sixth-seeded North Carolina men’s basketball team couldn’t hold on to an eight-point lead with under five minutes to play and fell 85-83 in the NCAA Tournament to third-seeded Iowa State Sunday night in San Antonio.

With the loss, the Tar Heels finished an up-and-down season at 24-10 while the Cyclones improved to a 28-7 record and will now take on No. 7 seed Connecticut in the Sweet Sixteen.

DeAndre Kane drove for the game-winning layup with 1.6 seconds left and booked the trip to Madison Square Garden for his teammates.

The Tar Heels lost in the NCAA Tournament’s opening weekend for the first time in consecutive seasons under Head Coach Roy Williams.

Carolina’s Nate Britt took the ball up court after Kane’s basket, but time expired before he could reach midcourt and call a timeout. Officials deliberated for several minutes reviewing clock replays before ruling the game over.

Officials review the clock (Todd Melet)

Officials review the clock (Todd Melet)

Kane finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Even without forward Georges Niang, who broke his foot in Friday’s win against N.C. Central, the Cyclones were dynamic on offense, causing all sorts of problem for the Tar Heel defense all night.

Marcus Paige led UNC with 19 points and Kennedy Meeks tallied 15 points and 13 rebounds for his first double-double since the Louisville game back in November.

Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, they were forced to play nearly the entire game without forward Brice Johnson, who suffered a sprained ankle in the opening minutes.

“It was a heck of a basketball game. If you didn’t care who won the game, you had to be entertained. You had to feel good about college athletics because it was two teams going very, very hard at each other. They made some plays down the stretch that they needed to make and we didn’t quite make the ones that we needed to make,” Coach Williams said.

Click here for the game photo gallery.



Tar Heels Take On High-Powered Cyclones For Sweet 16 Berth

Fresh off their gritty escape over Providence Friday night, the No. 6 seeded North Carolina men’s basketball team face a formidable challenge in the Iowa State Cyclones, the No. 3 seed, in the Round of 32 Sunday at 5:15 p.m. in San Antonio.

***Listen to the story***

The Tar Heels have new life. Somehow, they were able to withstand an NCAA Tournament performance for the ages by Providence’s Bryce Cotton to keep dancing.

Head Coach Roy Williams says he was proud of his team’s toughness and resiliency down the stretch Friday night.

“The kids kept fighting. I talked about how tough we have to be the last four minutes. I thought our guys were really tough. They made some big-time plays,” Coach Williams says.

But next up for the Tar Heels are the Iowa State Cyclones, one of the premier offensive units in the country. The Cyclones tore apart the NC Central Eagles in their opening contest, seemingly scoring at will from anywhere on the court.

Sophomore Brice Johnson says it was important for Carolina to reassert its dominance on the glass in their NCAA opener. That will certainly be another key Sunday against IowaState.

“In practice, Coach has been getting on us every day about getting to the glass and getting second chance points. That’s the big thing that he’s been emphasizing that last couple days in practice. That’s the one thing that we wanted to do,” Johnson says.

Bench on their feet! (Todd Melet)

Bench on their feet! (Todd Melet)

But the Tar Heels may have caught a lucky break. Cyclone center Georges Niang broke his foot in the NC Central game and has been ruled out for the remainder of the Tournament.

How vital is Niang to the Cyclone offense? He averaged 16.5 points per game and can just as easily pop three-pointers as conduct work around the basket.

Carolina will still need to be at its best Sunday as Iowa State has plenty of other offensive weaponry, including DeAndre Kane. Kane posted 14 points and seven rebounds in the opening game.

The Big 12 Tournament champions opened as a 1-point favorite over the Tar Heels.

Head Coach Roy Williams will be leaning on his star performers to get the Tar Heels to the Sweet Sixteen. He says the leadership of juniors James Michael McAdoo and Marcus Paige has made his job a lot easier this season.

“Marcus and James Michael are great leaders. They’re leaders by how well they play. They’re leaders by how intelligent they are. They’re leaders by how unselfish they are. But when they say something, the other kids listen to them as well,” Coach Williams says.

A win over Iowa State on Sunday would send Carolina to a 32nd appearance in the Sweet Sixteen, an NCAA record, and book the Tar Heels a trip up to Madison Square Garden next weekend.


Tar Heels Survive Cotton, Friars 79-77 To Advance In NCAAT

The North Carolina men’s basketball team survived Bryce Cotton’s 36 points and edged Providence 79-77 to advance to the NCAA Tournament Round of 32.

With the win, Carolina is now 24-9 on the season and improved to 110-42 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

Marcus Paige led the Tar Heels in scoring with 19 points, the 13th time this season he has led the Tar Heels in scoring.

Crucially, UNC bagged 21 offensive rebounds Friday night, its highest production on the offensive glass since grabbing 22 against NC State on Feb. 1.

Ironically for the Tar Heels, James Michael McAdoo, who has struggled mightily all year with free throws, was sent to the foul line in the waning seconds with the game hanging in the balance.

The junior made a pair of them to seal the victory for the Tar Heels and with it, preserve Head Coach Roy Williams’ unbeaten streak in NCAA Tournament opening games.

In addition, the win was  Coach Williams’ 724th of his career, tying him with DePaul’s Ray Meyer for 19th place in NCAA  history. Coach Williams is now 724-189 in 26 seasons, including 306-88 at North Carolina.

Coach Williams said he was proud of his team’s toughness and resiliency to come back after giving up the lead late.

***Listen to the postgame remarks***

Kennedy Meeks recorded 12 points and five rebounds to aid the Carolina cause. He was 6 for 8 from the floor. It was his first scoring game in double figures since he had 15 against Wake Forest six games ago on Feb. 22.

When leading at the half this season, Carolina is a perfect 18-0.

Next up for the Tar Heels is a Round of 32 matchup against hot-shooting Iowa State, winners over N.C. Central Friday night. The Tar Heels and Cyclones will square off Sunday in San Antonio with a spot in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen on the line.

Click here for the complete game photo gallery.



Tar Heels in San Antonio: A Conversation with UNC Athletics’ Steve Kirschner

WCHL’s Matt Oakes had the chance to chat with UNC’s Senior Associate Athletic Director Steve Kirschner as the Tar Heel men’s basketball team gets set to embark on its NCAA Tournament journey Friday night in San Antonio against the Providence Friars.


J.P. Tokoto on defense (Todd Melet)

Leslie McDonald on defense (Todd Melet)


Rebounding, Transition Offense Key For Tar Heels In Friday Night Fight Versus Friars

The North Carolina men’s basketball team’s long wait for NCAA Tournament play is now over.

***Listen to the story***

“When we won twelve in a row, everybody was wondering if we were going to get complacent. Human nature is to tend to slip if you allow them to slip. I did a bad job because we slipped in an area that I think is extremely important,” Coach Williams says.

And that area of “extreme importance” is rebounding. In their last two games, both losses, the Tar Heels were dominated on the boards, a place where UNC once dominated opponents themselves.

Sophomore point guard Marcus Paige points out another area of the game he thinks the Tar Heels need to incorporate more in their NCAA Tournament game against the Big East Tournament champions, the Providence Friars. He says Carolina needs to get back to running the floor and taking advantage of fast break opportunities.

“When we start running better and playing defense better, I think that gets more opportunities for other guys. We can get breakouts for J.P. [Tokoto] or we can get a guy in the post and have that be our first option, whether that is Kennedy [Meeks] or Brice [Johnson]. I think it starts with us running the ball better. We’ve done a terrible job of getting down in transition lately,” Paige says.

Intense focus and urgency from Paige (Todd Melet)

Intense focus and urgency from Paige (Todd Melet)

One player Carolina will have to watch out for is Bryce Cotton. Cotton averages 21.4 points per game and plays a whopping 96 percent of the minutes for the Friars. And you thought Marcus Paige played a lot?

Remarkably, from Feb. 10 to March 8, Cotton didn’t have a single game where he scored less than 20 points. Coach Williams says he’s an absolute nightmare to defend.

“When the guy who’s dominating the ball is also the best scorer, it’s hard to get it out of his hands. […] He’s a load when you start looking at those stats. He’s had an incredible year,” Coach Williams says.

Despite the slide to end the season, Coach Williams says he’s liked what he’s seen from his players since the early exit at the ACC Tournament.

“They really had a great attitude. They were excited about practice. They worked hard – very vocal. You never can tell. They’re 18, 19, 20, 21 years old. I really do believe they understand what they’re getting into. I think they understand that we need to do a little more what I call ‘investing’. I like our attitude,” Coach Williams says.

An impressive streak will be on the line for Coach Williams Friday night when his Tar Heels take on the Friars. He’s won at least one game in each of his last 23 NCAA Tournament appearances.


UNC’s Marcus Paige Fit, Focused on Friars

A rejuvenated and fit Marcus Paige is a welcome sight for the Tar Heels. The sophomore point guard says the thumb and thigh are going to be just fine for this weekend’s play in San Antonio.

***Listen to the story***

“I’m good. My thumb’s fine. This week, I’m practicing with nothing on it. It’s feeling good. The thigh’s getting better. I have been working on it a lot. […] It will be fine come Friday. Each day it’s getting a little better and better. It helps when I keep running up and down in practice,” Paige says.

One area of concern for Carolina is in the rebounding department. Once a strength of the team, the Tar Heels have been struggling to seize control of the boards lately, most notably in the defeats at the hands of the Panthers and Blue Devils.

This fact hasn’t been lost on Paige. He says the team has to maintain better focus and ‘want-to’ to reassert a rebounding advantage.

“I guess just a lack of attention to detail. For a while, we were like a top ten rebounding team. We were rebounding really well and we had a good rebounding margin. Obviously, that slipped. We just got to get back to understanding that you have to box out every possession. We can’t just rely on size and length,” Paige says.

The clean slate aspect of the NCAA Tournament is attractive to Paige. He says now it doesn’t matter what’s happened leading in. He says the team is firmly focused on the Providence Friars.

“The only thing on our mind right now is Providence – not what we’ve done in the past, not the 12-game win streak, not the bad home losses, or the great road wins we’ve had. It’s all on Providence and what we can do to be best prepared for them,” Paige says.

Tar Heel teamwork (Todd Melet)

Tar Heel teamwork (Todd Melet)

What separates the winners from the losers in March? Paige says it’s all mental.

“The mental part of the game right now is a big part. Everyone’s tired and dinged up. It’s how well you prepare and how well you can execute your mental game plan is what really separates teams at this point,” Paige says.

The Tar Heels will see if they have the right stuff to survive and advance Friday night at 7:20 p.m. in San Antonio.


Coach Williams Emphasizing Rebounding Heading Into NCAA Opener

UNC Men’s Basketball Head Coach Roy Williams says this time of year, every team gets new life. But in order for the Tar Heels to make a deep push into the NCAA Tournament, Coach Williams believes some things need to be corrected.

***Listen to the story***

“Yesterday was a good practice. We got today and tomorrow. And then we’ll go and practice out there some on Thursday. Everybody’s got to understand now if you don’t play well you don’t get a do-over. If you don’t play well now, you go home,” Coach Williams says.

Those were Coach Williams’ thoughts at his pre-tournament press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Smith Center.

The Tar Heels, once dominant in the statistical category of rebounding, have seemingly lost their edge in that department over the past two games, both losses to Duke and Pittsburgh.

Coach Williams doesn’t hesitate. He says that’s the biggest key to Carolina’s success in the Big Dance.

“41 points off offensive rebounds against us the last two games – you can’t do that and win. Even if we were playing Providence or anybody else, it would probably be the number one thing we have to work on,” Coach Williams says.

Tar Heels tipping off (Todd Melet)

Tar Heels tipping off (Todd Melet)

Carolina’s opponent, No. 11 seed Providence, should be a handful for UNC. Coach Williams says the Tar Heels are expecting a tough battle from the Big East Tournament champions.

“You look at the stats. They’ve had the same five starters for 34 games. That’s pretty impressive. His club has done a nice job. They’ve played six overtime games. It’s a team that’s played great down the stretch. Maybe in their mind, they thought they needed to play great to get into the Tournament,” Coach Williams says.

NC Central will be joining Carolina in San Antonio this weekend. Coach Williams says he was willing to buddy up on the same flight down to Texas with Head Coach LeVelle Moton and the Eagles.

“I was very pleased for LeVelle. He’s a really a good guy. He’s a guy that I’ve got to know quite a bit since I came back here eleven years ago. I jokingly called him and said we ought to take the same plane and see if the NCAA would give us some money back instead of giving us the expenses for two planes. I told him I would flip for it to see who got the exit row,” Coach Williams says.

But for now, the Tar Heels have their eyes firmly looking inward, trying to clean up their act for a deep postseason push. Coach Williams says Monday’s practice was one of the best of the entire year, but he wants a full week of great prep work to be ready to face off against the Friars Friday night.

“Yesterday’s practice was one of our best practices of the year. I told them we need to do that four days in a row before we’re going to gain something from it,” Coach Williams says


Texas Bound Tar Heel Men Eye NCAA Tournament Run

The North Carolina men’s basketball team will have a chance to wipe the sour taste of its loss to Pittsburgh in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals when it faces Big East Tournament champion Providence in its opening game of the NCAA Tournament in San Antonio.

***Listen to the story***

“I thought we were going to come back and win the game, especially when we got it down to single digits. I thought it was going to be one of the great finishes. I really believed that. People think I’m a little wacko any way. You got to try something different,” Coach Williams says.

Carolina waited too long to turn on the engines against Pitt. UNC will certainly need to bring it’s best for a complete 40 minutes if it hopes to experience that winning feeling again.

The Tar Heels will begin their NCAA journey in San Antonio as the No. 6 seed in the Tournament. First up, will be the No. 11 Providence Friars. The Friars will pose a formidable challenge as they downed No. 3 seed Creighton in the Big East championship game.

Coach Williams says he still believes Carolina has something left in store for the Big Dance.

“Don’t bury us yet. We still got some play left,” Coach Williams says.

Tar Heel defense (Todd Melet)

Tar Heel defense (Todd Melet)

UNC won’t be the only Triangle team featured in the San Antonio region. The Eagles of N.C. Central, located in Durham, will join them.

The winner of Tar Heels-Friars contest will play the winner of the game between No. 3 seed IowaState and No. 14 seed NC Central on Sunday.

Sophomore point guard Marcus Paige says he and his teammates are confident in their abilities to flip the switch on their recent fortunes.

“We’re still doing things well. Our confidence isn’t all lost. We just got to get back to work and fine-tune some things. We have to understand that you got to come ready to play against anyone for 40 minutes, not for ten,” Paige says.

The Tar Heels return to the NCAA field this season for the 10th time in 11 years under Coach Williams. Coach Williams has led Carolina to a 28-7 overall record in the NCAA Tournament.

“We have had some outstanding wins this year, both in and out of league play, over teams that received some very high seeds in the field, so we know we are capable. But we must play better than we have over the last two weeks if we want to reach our big-time dreams,” Coach Williams says.

The Tar Heels are 20-5 in NCAA Tournament play in their last six appearances, advancing to the Elite Eight in 2007, 2011 and 2012, the Final Four in 2008 and winning the title in 2009.

Carolina is making its third NCAA Tournament appearance as a No. 6 seed and has a 2-2 record as a No. 6, going 1-1 in both 1996 and 2004.

And with the way this season has gone for these up-and-down Tar Heels, it’s anyone’s guess how far they’ll go in March Madness, seemingly just as likely to lose in the first round as advance to the Final Four.

ACC and Triangle Teams’ Schedules

No. 6 East – Carolina v. No. 11 Providence – Friday 7:20p TNT
No. 1 East – Virginia v. No. 16 Coastal Carolina – Friday 9:25p TBS
No. 3 Midwest – Duke v. No. 14 Mercer – Friday 12:15p CBS
No. 12 First Round (Midwest) – NC State v. No. 12 Xavier – Tuesday 9:10p truTV
No. 3 South – Syracuse v. No. 14 Western Michigan – Thurs 2:45p CBS
No. 9 South – Pittsburgh v. No. 8 Colorado – Thursday 1:40p TBS
No. 14 East – NC Central v. No. 3 Iowa State – Friday 9:50p TNT