North Carolina Basketball: James McAdoo Continues a Legacy

Ro ShiellAnalyst IJune 29, 2011

In 1972 Robert McAdoo spent one glorious year at Chapel Hill. The 6’9” forward enrolled two years previously at Vincennes Junior College but then transferred to his original college choice, North Carolina, after he qualified academically.

The Greensboro N.C native led UNC to the Final Four, averaging 19.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and earning All-America honors.

McAdoo scored 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in an upset loss to Florida State. Back then the losing teams of the Final Four played a third place game. UNC defeated Louisville by 15 points for bragging rights.

(Florida State would go on to lose to UCLA—John Wooden's last championship before he retired that year. Lucky escape North Carolina!)

That was his last college game and the start of the legend that would become Bob McAdoo. He went on to do great things in the NBA, including playing in the Finals four straight years, winning two of those series, 1982 and 1985. McAdoo was also the Rookie of the Year in 1973 and won MVP in his third year, 1975.

If he played today, Bob McAdoo would be on par with LeBron James, or higher as James has yet to win a championship.

Now the senior McAdoo's legacy continues with his “nephew” James McAdoo, a freshman for the Tar Heels in the fall.

"He's really like my...I don't know," said James. "My dad's great-great-great grandfather and his great-grandfather are like brothers. So I don't know what that makes us. We've got a last name. All McAdoos are family."

The intricacy of their relationship is insignificant, what bonds them together aside from their last name is their skill level.

The younger McAdoo is just as comfortable in the post as he is from three-point range, making him a scoring phenomenon just like the elder forward.

McAdoo is the best big man in the class of 2011 and if scouts were not overly enamored with Anthony Davis, a forward with guard skills, the North Carolina rising freshman would be the top post player in his class.

In the McDonalds All-America game, he led the East team to victory over Davis’ West team and was named co-MVP with Michael Gilchrist, future teammate of Davis at Kentucky.

A few weeks later, Davis squared off with James at the Jordan Brand Classic again. Davis had 29 points 11 rebounds and four blocks, however James’ team persevered and he scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

McAdoo also claimed co-MVP again, in this best of the best annual boys high school tournament.

It is unbelievable that a player of this magnitude won’t be starting for North Carolina as a freshman.

John Henson, Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes all said no to the NBA and will be leading a star-studded attack for Roy Williams in the coming season.

Just like 2005, when Williams first won an NCAA championship at his alma mater, McAdoo will reenact the role of Marvin Williams—considered by some to be the best player on that championship team—by coming off the bench.

McAdoo’s greatest strength is in the post, but he is also a cold-blooded shooter.

Robbi Pickeral tells the story of how last summer McAdoo’s high school team was down in a game that was practically written off by his coaches. James then made a Larry Bird-esque steal to hit a clutch, Reggie Miller-esque tying three. That sent the game to overtime where McAdoo’s team prevailed.

With P.J. Hairston—another 5-star recruit—and McAdoo being added to a team that advanced to the Elite Eight this past NCAA tournament, UNC is definitely a serious contender next season.

Like his uncle, James may only be in Chapel Hill for one year as every credible draft board has him being taken in the lottery. Such lofty standards all before he has played one game of college basketball.