KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There are things people expect out of North Carolina forward James Michael McAdoo. For this, he is incredibly grateful.
For this, he is also incredibly aware.
“The biggest thing my father taught me is that you get out of this game what you put into it,” said McAdoo, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound sophomore. “People don’t see the hours and hours you spend in the gym or in the weight room in the offseason, so when you get into these big moments, you have to just enjoy it and leave it all out there.”
For McAdoo, Sunday’s NCAA Tournament third-round game against Kansas at the Sprint Center qualifies as one of those moments — and you can argue he’s been preparing for this since he was born, sporting a basketball pedigree you would have to look long and hard to find anywhere else.
“A lot of people know about my dad, but my mom was the top center in the whole country her senior year of high school,” McAdoo said, smiling. “But my mom, you wouldn’t ever know she played basketball ... she’s just a normal, loving, caring mom.”
Both McAdoo’s father and mother -- Ronnie and Janet -- played basketball for Old Dominion and Ronnie is in the ODU Hall of Fame. Both of them also played professional basketball overseas. Former North Carolina All-American and 14-year NBA veteran Bob McAdoo is his third cousin.
Coming out of Norfolk (Va.) Christian High, McAdoo led his team to two state titles and was the co-MVP of the 2011 McDonald’s All-American game. A second team All-ACC selection, he leads the Tar Heels with 14.5 points and 7.3 rebounds. As a freshman, his laid-back personality threw off some North Carolina fans who thought he wasn’t as aggressive as he should be, and drew the ire of North Carolina coach Roy Williams more than once.
But his performance in the final game of last season, 15 points in an Elite Eight loss to Kansas, gave him a boost of confidence headed into this year.
“The biggest thing it showed me was how I’m capable of playing against elite competition,” McAdoo said. “It also showed my teammates that when they’re having an off night, they can trust in me to pick them up.”
And he’s still the same, laid-back guy that he was when he went to Chapel Hill.
“On the court, you have to have a different personality,” North Carolina forward Desmond Hubert said. “He does that pretty well. Fans are going to think what they want ... he wouldn’t have come (to North Carolina) if he didn’t want those big-time expectations put on him. A McDonald’s All-American that plays for North Carolina understands what people are putting on him and I think he’s handling it well.”