"Medium 3" playing big for UNC
Posted March 5, 2013
They're the self-described "three-barrel gun," according to P.J. Hairston. I'll choose to refer to he, Reggie Bullock, and James Michael McAdoo by a less explosive moniker: the "Medium 3." It's not meant as an insult, or even a backhanded compliment, however, I can't quite group them in the "Big 3" like the ghosts of Tar Heels' past. Felton/May/McCants? Hansbrough/Ellington/Lawson? Those trios contained National Player of the Year candidates.
The current crop won't crack the first-team All-ACC squad. Those threesomes all were selected in the first round of their respective NBA drafts, heck the Class of 2005 were all lottery picks. Of course, it remains to be seen where today's triple threat will call their pro home, but according to nbadraft.net, they'll be waiting awhile before their names are called. Only McAdoo is predicted as a late first-rounder should he make the call to leave early, no draft dice for Bullock and Hairston according to the latest projections. Hence, labeling them as Carolina's Version 3.0 of the "Big 3" doesn't seem appropriate...yet. Besides, the whole "Big 3" concept is so passé since these guys deemed it fit to dub themselves as such:
Seriously, the satire is just too much for me. Check that, as of today, this is my new favorite YouTube video involving the Miami Heat:
However, there's no denying the impact when McAdoo, Hairston, and Bullock all get their minutes. Since Roy Williams' well-documented switch to a smaller lineup, the Heels have gone 5-and-1, with that one loss being a very strong effort against then #2 Duke. On Sunday, the three combined for 57 points against Florida State. Since the swap, they've been responsible for 63 percent of the scoring. Hairston may be benefiting most in terms of PT, but McAdoo may be the big winner in the deal.
"Their presence on the outside takes pressure away from me in the middle," McAdoo said on Sunday following the 21 point pummeling of the Noles.
It showed, specifically during a three minute stretch late in the first half. In a matter of six possessions, JMM connected on a midrange jumper sandwiched in between a menagerie of massive dunks: a one-handed throwdown where he was fouled, an alley-oop from Hairston, and a two-fisted putback off a Marcus Paige miss. I was disappointed that he didn't follow it up with a windmill from the foul line while someone screamed "Boom Shakalaka" on commentary:
Off topic, but on the topic of crazy dunks, the biggest free agent on the prep market will be in Chapel Hill this weekend. Huntington Prep's Andrew Wiggins makes his official visit to UNC. It's down to Carolina, FSU (where both of his parents went to school), Kansas, and Kentucky. For those who haven't seen him ball, safe to say, Heels fans will want to add him to their amazon.com Wish List:
Getting back on point, while they might not have to make space on their mantles for a truckload of postseason awards and honors, what McAdoo, Bullock, and Hairston may win is an extra day's rest. Carolina's gone from bubble team, potential play-in gamers/First Four in Dayton, to a potential first round bye in next week's ACC Tournament. Sitting at 11-and-5, the Tar Heels are still in contention for second place in the league should the chips fall their way this week against Duke.
UNC is winning and winning handily because of the Not-Quite-Big-3. Two weeks ago they torched Virginia, the best defensive team I've seen in a long time, the same school that stormed the floor after stifling Duke. With tournament time looming, I cannot envision many programs who would want to match up with a squad that can drop 93 (roughly 39 more than they surrender on average) on Virginia.
"Medium 3," maybe. But medium-well, indeed.
Currently listening to: Tom Waits "Hold On"...and no, not just because it closed last week's episode of "The Walking Dead."