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Sunday, November 11, 2012

McAdoo, Bullock combined for 35 Points in Win

The new look Tar Heels are two games into their season, winning their second game today over Florida Atlantic 80-56. There never was any question about this game as North Carolina outran them and capitalized on Florida Atlantic's poor shot selection.

Marcus Paige bounced back from a zero assists debut to dish out 6 dimes and did a nice job of looking down the court and pushing the ball ahead in transition - much like the old #5 did last year. The slender lefty has more flare, length, and quickness to his game than Marshall did and could join him in the NBA when he decides its time to leave. Right now, Paige is only listed at 159 pounds and that is holding part of his game back. He hasn't been able to handle contact well in the halfcourt so far, and went 1-8 from the floor today. His slightly high dribble combined with his frame is enough to make it tough for Paige to get drive through traffic and finish at the rim. He has a higher ceiling than Kendall Marshall but will need to put on weight in order to handle to ACC and eventually, the NBA.

Paige had two outlets at all times on the breaks in Reggie Bullock and Dexter Strickland. Both players love getting out and finishing in transition and help make UNC arguably the best transition team in the nation. Bullock had a very efficient 16 points, hardly dribbling the ball, scoring all his points spotting up from three or getting out in transition. He's proven to be a great role player but after studying Bullock over the summer, he never has shown the ability to create much offense. That is why I am concerned about UNC's halfcourt offense this year more than ever as McAdoo is the only sure option there. Strickland had a stretch in the 2nd half that made it appear he wanted to audition for the job, but really all he did was take 4 straight ill-advised shots. Strickland is much like Bullock, playing great defense and leaking out on transition. He isn't as much of a shooter and can handle the ball more, but he is certainly not a #2 scoring threat. He was definitely Carolina's best defender today and that should be the same for most of this season.

Who could step up for North Carolina? Well after Desmond Hubert got the start, Joel James took over and ended up logging more minutes. He had 11 points and 8 rebounds in 18 minutes. James got in shape over the summer and is an absolute beast inside. He is still slow making moves, but his motor, size, and touch are a combination that could make him an All-ACC performer as soon as next year. He's not the answer as a #2 scorer though this year.

Tokoto and Johnson are both nice freshman as well. Both are great athletes and Johnson was really aggressive today. Neither are to be counted on this season, though.

PJ Hairston is the guy North Carolina will need. He was a chucker last season while not being able to make a shot, but things could be different this year. His 26% 3-pt shooting shouldn't be repeated as his jumper looks great. He took 8 shots in 17 minutes today while only making 2 so he has the shooting down. He can attack the hoop and get off both 3-pt and mid-range shots off the dribble. He needs to be more selective but Hairston has the best chance of being the guy to step up.

Quick thoughts on McAdoo:

McAdoo has started off the year well, measuring up to expectations. The best part of his game is the way he moves his feet - both offensively and defensively. He always finds himself in position to take charges on the defensive end. Offensively, he does a wonderful job sliding around the paint trying to get open. He gets an unusual amount of short open jumpers because of this. He is also able to post up and keep the defender on his back not because of his strength, but because of his active feet. He moves his feet in order to keep the defender on his back and also to set up angles at the hoop. McAdoo may be settling for too many jumpers early on and I'd like to see more post touches, but so far he looks very much like a lottery pick. He's handling the role of #1 option on offense well.

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