Breakout season expected for UNC's James
Posted October 23, 2013
Updated October 24, 2013
North Carolina basketball players are in agreement on who will be the breakout star of this year's Tar Heel team.
"I think that's definitely Joel," forward James Michael McAdoo said at UNC hoops media day .
"I think Joel James," UNC guard Marcus Paige said.
"I'm really impressed with Joel," agreed UNC guard Leslie McDonald.
The six-foot-ten sophomore from West Palm Beach is a consensus number one answer.
James averaged just over two points and two boards a contest in a "trying" freshman season.
A true learning experience, including one memorable practice outburst he and head coach Roy Williams recall very vividly.
"Everyone else was playing full, 100 percent, and I just stopped," recalled James. "Coach was like 'what happened?' and I said 'I don't get it.'"
"Everybody was trying to coach Joel because they want Joel to do so well," said Williams.
"Coach was like 'Hold on! Be quiet!'," laughed James.
"And I said, 'Joel, would you like everybody to leave you alone?' 'Yes, sir!'," Williams continued.
"'No one talks to Joel besides me!'," James said continuing his impression of coach Williams.
"And so I asked Dexter (Strickland) 'when did you start playing basketball?' He said, 'when I was 6'," Williams said. "I asked J.P. (Tokoto) and I think he may've said '5 or 6' or something like that. I said, 'well, Joel played his first organized game in..."
"'Tenth grade! He's been playing since the tenth grade'," James finished with a smile.
"So, get off Joel's back," Williams said.
Now, entering just his 5th year of organized hoops, the more confident James, a self-described sponge, is soaking up all the b-ball knowledge anywhere he can find it.
"Last night, I was up till like two o'clock in the morning watching Hakeem Olajuwon videos," laughed James. "Just looking at the way he plays the post, and then I tuned into a Shaq (O'Neal) video and just watched the way he dominated the paint. I just find myself watching as much basketball as possible, to try and catch up mentally."
And James says he cannot wait to put his YouTube study sessions to good use.