Now that North Carolina's season is over, it's time to start looking ahead to 2013-14. And the biggest question mark floating over Chapel Hill now is about the Tar Heels' three NBA prospects.
Will P.J. Hairston, Reggie Bullock and James Michael McAdoo stay or go?
Nobody is ready to give an answer at this time, which should be expected. They are all waiting to have a sit-down with head coach Roy Williams before they make their decisions public.
If the entire Triangle Trio leaves in another mass exodus, it could be just as crushing to the program as last season. Last year it was one senior, one junior and two sophomore starters that left, and it would be exactly the same this year with Dexter Strickland, Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo.
Unfortunately, we have no control over what these players do. You can't blame any of them for wanting to take the next step in their careers.
So the real question is: Should the Tar Heels' prospects stay or go?
All quotes were obtained from Andrew Carter of the News & Observer.
Chad Ford's Top 100: No. 40
Reggie Bullock on Future:
I’m just worried about this loss right now, with my teammates. I’m not really worried about my future right now, even if it is a future. But I’m just worried about spending this time with my teammates. We battled a lot this year. We went through a lot of adversity.
Reggie Bullock is a fine prospect that could add some deep pop to any NBA team. He's very similar to Danny Green with his versatility and range, and Green has put up some solid numbers in San Antonio. However, it took him two years of bench warming to do so.
Depending on the team that potentially lands him, Bullock could be headed down the same path.
He shot 43.6 percent from downtown, while averaging 13.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Bullock has proven to be a top-notch on-ball defender, an excellent rebounder for his position and has displayed solid court vision.
He just hasn't shown the fire or explosiveness to become a premier player in the NBA.
But I also feel he held back a little bit this season. Does anyone recall a dunk from Bullock this season? Remember the spin move he used driving through the lane the other week?
His explosive moves have only come in small spurts this season.
Could it be because he is thinking ahead, hoping to avoid setbacks his teammates Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald had with their ACLs? He did just become a father last year, and he may be looking to gain security for the new family.
And who could blame him?
Whether he was holding back or not, scouts would see pretty much the same Reggie Bullock they saw in 2012-13. Perhaps a Final Four or title would boost his draft stock a bit, but I don't imagine him ending up in the lottery without showing some explosiveness to his game.
Bullock may be better off jumping to the NBA, and I certainly won't be surprised if he does.
Chad Ford's Top 100: No. 37
P.J. Hairston on Future:
“I haven’t really thought about it. I don’t plan on thinking about it any time soon.”
Of the three prospects, I think P.J. Hairston's game translates the best to the NBA. He's a hard-nosed player on both sides of the court. Unlike the other two, he does not shy away from contact—and the NBA is a contact league.
And it would appear you don't have to worry about Hairston getting hurt. The man rejuvenates as fast as Wolverine. He had a sprained knee, a concussion and stitches in his left hand and only missed two games this season.
And he averaged 19.2 points with that stitched and bandaged hand.
He has also shown the versatility of Bullock, too. Hairston shot 39.6 percent from downtown, to go with his team-leading 14.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
In addition, Hairston had 14 blocks on the season. That's as many as power forward McAdoo—in 272 fewer minutes.
But one thing about Hairston is that he only got to start in 13 games this season. Starting for a full season would definitely boost his draft status. And he would also have time to improve his dribbles and develop a mid-range game.
It's pretty much threes or straight to the bucket for Hairston. Better handles and a mid-range pull-up jumper could land him in the lottery next season.
Hairston would be better off staying another season in Chapel Hill. But if both McAdoo and Bullock leave, that could sway him to the NBA.
Chad Ford's Top 100: No. 26
James Michael McAdoo on Future:
"It's just something I want to talk to coach Roy about first."
With McAdoo's athleticism and activity inside the paint, his potential is very high. This is why he still ranks above Bullock and Hairston, despite what many consider a disappointing season.
McAdoo averaged 14.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
While those numbers are solid, some of his other numbers have certainly raised some eyebrows. He shot just 44.5 percent from the floor, 57.8 percent from the free-throw line and averaged 2.7 turnovers per game.
At this point in his career, he is far from being fully developed as a power forward at the next level. His mid-range game is inconsistent, he lacks post moves, he works too fast and doesn't appear to be a very heady player.
He would also rather try to draw a charge than contest a shot, which is why he only had 14 blocks. That doesn't play well at the 4 in the NBA.
But we also need to consider the bulging disk in his back that plagued him this season. That could have been the reason behind his lack of physicality. Though, one has to wonder if flopping on the floor or contesting a shot would be worse.
From what we have seen in McAdoo's two years at Chapel Hill, he is the least prepared for the NBA. But obviously Chad Ford and others believe he has the most potential.
That said, he may be better off leaving for the NBA.
He had a full offseason to add more dimension to his game, but that never really showed on the court this season. He was essentially the same player we saw step in for John Henson last season.
If that happened again, it could completely blow his chances at becoming a high draft pick—much less an NBA elite. It would show scouts and owners that he may never reach that ceiling.
Couple that with his back issues—which have a tendency to linger throughout careers, and eventually end them—my opinion is that he should go ahead and take the next step.
It also may take banging with NBA 4s to realize how much he needs to improve his game.
Yes, I just suggested that two of them should go ahead and enter the NBA draft. As devastating as that could potentially be to the program, there would still be a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of P.J. Hairston.
Hairston is, after all, the most dominant player of the trio.
And with the returners and incoming freshman class—which could still include top prospect Andrew Wiggins—the Tar Heels should be able to challenge for the ACC title. Perhaps, even an NCAA title.
That may be enough to keep Hairston planted in Chapel Hill.