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North Carolina

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.

Fialko: UNC's James is catching up on the game Fialko: UNC's James catching up on the game

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.

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  • MoDukev3 Oct 23, 6:39 p.m.

    Breakout.........I didn't even know he had been arrested.

  • YouGotThatRight Oct 23, 6:43 p.m.

    Breakout.........I didn't even know he had been arrested.

    — Posted by MoDukev3

    This article is not really even talking about basketball either. This kid is living in a brave new world now that all of UNC's revenue generating athletes broke out of the AFAM Department.

  • rshabh7977 Oct 23, 6:49 p.m.

    Breakout.........I didn't even know he had been arrested.

    — Posted by MoDukev3

    What's the big deal? It's not like he stole jewelry and then won a National Title.

  • seedofdoubt Oct 23, 7:09 p.m.

    So he's going to be a "superstar" by watching videos until 2 in the morning? Not a word about his BB abilities improving from last year or his teammates talking about "how great he is in practice" or "you should see how much better he has become", just "I think it will be..." No certainty in that kind of statement, now is there.

  • Gunnstigator Oct 23, 7:22 p.m.

    James seems like a good kid, and I hope he does well this season. He hasn't been playing very long, and it must have been intimidating being around teammates who have been playing since they were little kids.

  • NOT sorry for being caucasian Oct 23, 7:30 p.m.

    I saw a lot of raw talent in his limited role last year. Players can be molded into clutch, starting winners. Pete (Chilly) Chilcutt, Joe Wolf, and Donald Williams are just a few that come to mind. Just sayin

  • Jewelry-EricLeak Oct 23, 7:58 p.m.

    Breakout.........I didn't even know he had been arrested.

    — Posted by MoDukev3

    What's the big deal? It's not like he stole jewelry and then won a National Title.

    — Posted by rshabh7977

    Lance Thomas didn't steal anything. Duke has a coach who pulls down $10 million a year, you think ALL that money goes to Coach Rat? Lance Thomas ordered up $100K worth of bling because he knew it would get paid for by "somebody"

    Joel James will hopefully give UNC a physical presence for 15 minutes or so per game while Kennedy Meeks develops into UNCs true post player.

  • 45HEELSFAN45 Oct 23, 8:22 p.m.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4VCpTZye10

  • seedofdoubt Oct 23, 8:31 p.m.

    Joel James will hopefully give UNC a physical presence for 15 minutes or so per game while Kennedy Meeks develops into UNCs true post player.

    Agree. They'll share the 5 spot. James is still learning and Meeks may have trouble with stamina. Together they'll establish an adequate post with Meeks getting more time as the season moves along.

  • unc4realz Oct 23, 9:30 p.m.

    I like the photo attachced to this story. He's pointing to a teammate, "thanking him for the assist." Dean stressed that style of unselfish play, and Roy has kept the tradition alive. The Carolina Way.

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