After the North Carolina Tar Heels lost 4 players in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft, then you could definitely say that someone else will have to pick up the slack this year. Roy Williams has some options for sure; he has Dexter Strickland coming back from an ACL tear and Strickland looked sharp in the opener. Coach Williams also has sharpshooter P.J. Hairston and freshman studs Marcus Paige and J.P. Tokoto holding it down on the perimeter. Paige tonight became only the 8th point guard in UNC history to start the season opener against as a frosh. The Tar Heels handily prevailed tonight, 76 to 59, to win the game over the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs.
The key to the Tar Heels success this year though rests on James Michael McAdoo’s shoulders. McAdoo came on strong last year after he struggled to keep up with the pace of Roy Williams’ high-tempo offense at the beginning of the season. McAdoo was taking the ball hard to the paint in this victory and had a couple nice dishes too. He broke his career-high in points early in the second half, and it likely won’t be the last time this year he breaks that career high. He had an impressive double-double tonight, recording 26 points and 14 rebounds
The victory tonight actually reminded me of the way the Tar Heels ran the offense through freshman PF Tyler “Psycho T” Hansborough after the departure of most of the 2005 national title team for the NBA. Though McAdoo is a sophomore this year, he will still likely determine whether the Tar Heels remain a force in the ACC this year, or if they give up some ground after losing so much talent.