Caulton Tudor

Heels haven't been exceptional at FT line in years

Posted December 20, 2013

James Michael McAdoo (43) drives past James Young (1) during action at the Dean E. Smith Center between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Kentucky Wildcats on December 14, 2013 in Chapel Hill, NC. UNC won the contest over Kentucky 82-77. (Photo by: Will Bratton)

Although North Carolina’s free-throw shooting almost certainly will improve with time this season, the Tar Heels’ current conversion percentage of 59.6 is following the program’s general trend of the past few years.

Once among the nation’s most accurate teams at the line, the Heels haven’t converted more than 70 percent of their of free throws since the 2008-09 NCAA title team shot 75.2 percent.

The following season (20-17 overall, NIT), the percentage nosed to 65.3 and has stayed in the 60 percentile range since – 67.2 percent in 2010-11 (29-8 record, 14-2 ACC), 68.2 percent in 2011-12 (32-6 overall, 14-2 ACC) and 67.5 percent last season (25-11 overall, 12-6 ACC).

Free-throw shooting is down nationally and has been since the mid-1990s, but Carolina had been well above the norm most of those years. Beginning in the 2004-05 NCAA title season (33-4 overall, 14-2 ACC), the Heels converted 72.5 percent and didn’t slip below 70 percent until 2009-10.

Dating all the way back to early ’50s, Carolina has managed to shoot at least 62.9 percent (1952-53) and has finished above 70 percent in 31 seasons.

But with James Michael McAdoo having missed 41 of his 90 attempts (54.4 percent) and J.P. Tokoto seriously off-target (38.9 percent on 39 chances) through 10 games, the current team is flirting with historically weak numbers.

After missing 23 of 47 attempts in Tuesday’s 86-83 loss to Texas, Roy Williams challenged his team to “be tough enough to step it up and make the dadgum thing” at the free-throw line.

But in order to make consistent improvement, it’s clear that McAdoo’s mechanics are off and Tokoto has developed what seems to be a phobia at the line.

Like many big men with oversized hands, McAdoo has a tendency to hit the back of iron – missing long. For a person with average-sized hands, it’s like free-throw shooting a softball at a target 15 feet away and 10 feet high.

Many big men with similar troubles have had some success by simply stepping a foot or so behind the line. That strategy worked well at times for Wilt Chamberlain, Dennis Rodman and Hakeem Olajuwon, but not so for Ben Wallace and Chris Dudley.

McAdoo following Haywood path?

McAdoo shot 57.8 percent on 173 attempts last season and 63.8 percent on 94 attempts as a freshman, so there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to improve at least some.

To a degree, McAdoo is much like former Carolina center Brendan Haywood in the late 1990s. As a freshman in 1997-98, he shot 63.5 percent, followed by 62.7 as a soph, 60.2 as a junior and then a miserable 51.6 as a senior in 2000-01.

Now with the Charlotte Hornets, Haywood has been a career 58.7 percent shooter at the line.

McAdoo hasn’t had an easy ride thus far and could be distracted to a degree from having had to play out of position frequently. A natural power forward, he’s been forced to the wing for long stretches but that situation should improve with the return of veteran winger Leslie McDonald.

Tokoto, Brice Johnson (58.6 percent) and Kennedy Meeks (58.1) are struggling but only Tokoto seems to be psyching himself out at the line. Johnson and Meeks clearly have potential to shoot in the mid 60 percent range.

Against Davidson (4-7) on Saturday (5 p.m., Smith Center), the Heels will face a team that has averaged more than 20 fouls per game and has watched opponents convert 72 percent of the time.

Whether it’s mental, mechanical, bad luck or a combination of everything and anything, missed free throws have resulted in two Carolina losses (Belmont and Texas) and will continue to be a point of opposition emphasis until the Heels can turn trips to the line into an asset rather than a liability.

27 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • dave437 Dec 23, 2013

    mental midgets

  • StunGunn Dec 22, 2013

    View quoted thread



    According to Roy, they shoot 200 of them in practice, and no one on the team shoots less than 60%, with most up at about 70%. It's got to be a mental thing.

  • StunGunn Dec 22, 2013

    View quoted thread



    I remember Rick Barry! I used to watch him when he played in the ABA. I know I'm dating myself, but those were some fun games to watch.

  • redwolfone Dec 21, 2013

    UNC hasn't been exceptional at running a clean program.

  • TJPC Dec 20, 2013

    Is this WRAL's daily piece on trashing the Tarheels? I guess it never gets old for them - haters have to hate.

  • Turheel Dec 20, 2013

    View quoted thread



    A National Championship in 2009, Elite 8's in 2011 & 2012. You're right nothing exceptional in years. "Better for a f00l to remain silent than to speak and remove all doubt." Congrats!

  • LuvsThePack Dec 20, 2013

    There, I fixed the subject line for you.

  • I-40 Warrior Dec 20, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Bwaahahahahhahahaha!!! Oh, I'm in tears from laughing so hard at your pouting. Maybe if the Pack were relevant on a national (or even conference) level, they'd get some attention. We Tar Heels do have to deal with the good and bad press that comes from having a dominant program. Stop your whining and start winning.

  • redwolfone Dec 20, 2013

    Why is UNC alway on the front page....... Oh thats right. UNCHEATERS. The gift that keeps on giving, the Carolina Way.

  • Objective Scientist Dec 20, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Great job with your kid hitting 100 in a row... I've encountered some people who flat out say that "can't be done" by anyone of any age... but like you - I know it can be done with practice. I have also made the same observations you have. Players at all levels are not as "business like" in pre-game warm-ups and during the game itself as once was. Warm-ups... yes, much more shooting from the 3-pt line, or anything but free throws it seems. Also, a lot more "talking" - be it "trash" or simply "kidding around" - and less focusing on getting your shot right for the game... much more of a "casual" approach. I also think that all the "hand-slapping" etc. may be a distraction... probably more for some than for others. Player shoots first of two or first of a one-and-one and regardless of the outcome of the shot 2 or 3 of his teammates may step forward to "slap his hand"... I really don't know, and know of no research on this... but for some players it may be better if they focus totally - unbroken by hand-slaps - on the task at hand - preparing to make the upcoming shot! Speaking of distractions... I know some fans "love" that type of thing - if I were Roy I'd stop that "dancing" exhibition on the sideline prior to the game. IMO - any player doing that type of thing is NOT focusing to his max on preparing for the game!

More...

 

 

  • ACC: Wake Forest at Duke

    Tonight at 8:00 on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Duke vs. Wake Forest

    Tonight at 8:00 on 620am

  • Big Ten: Wisconsin at Minnesota

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NBA: Dallas at Portland

    Tomorrow at 9:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Minnesota

    Friday at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 104
LAL 103
Final
GT 49
UNC 81
Final
CLEM 61
NCSU 66
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
CHA
 
8:00pm Tonight
DUKE
WAKE
 
Final
DET 15
BAL 2
 
Final
MIA 7
MIAFLA 1
 
Final
PHI 5
NYY 5
 
Final
BOS 2
NEASTERN 1
 
Final
TOR 7
PIT 8
 
Final
CIN 10
CLE 0
 
Final
OAK 9
SFG 4
 
Final
BOS 1
BOSTONCOLL 0
 
Final
ARI 4
ASU 0
 
1:05pm Today
BAL
DET
 
1:05pm Today
ATL
NYM
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
PHI
 
1:05pm Today
PIT
TOR
 
3:05pm Today
LOS
CWS
 
3:05pm Today
CLE
CIN
 
3:05pm Today
TEX
KAN
 
3:05pm Today
SFG
OAK
 
3:05pm Today
SEA
SDP
 
3:05pm Today
MIL
WMIL
 
3:10pm Today
COL
ARI
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIN
UMIN
 
Final
CLE 110
BOS 79
Final
CHA 104
LAL 103
Final
NYK 86
SAC 124
Final
ATL 104
HOU 96
Final
MEM 82
UTA 93
Final
CHI 97
WAS 92
Final
DEN 106
MIL 95
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
PHO
 
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
CHA
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
CLE
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
DEN
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
DET
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
LAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
MEM
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
PHI
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
MIL
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
POR
 
Final
UMO 70
AKR 63
 
Final
NAVY 56
ARMY 52
 
Final
BST 60
EMICH 67
 
Final
BUT 54
GEOR 60
Final
IND 63
IOWA 77
Final
FLGC 81
JVU 63
 
Final
USCU 90
KNST 54
 
Final
BGU 80
KSU 81
 
Final
NKENTUCKY 73
LIP 76
 
Final
HC 62
GHND 45
 
Final
RUTG 50
MD 60
Final
GT 49
UNC 81
Final
BUF 93
OHIO 66
 
Final
ALA 74
MISS 82
Final
DAY 75
RIU 59
Final
CMICH 85
TOL 77
 
Final
DET 77
YOUNG 67
Final
UNF 81
STET 67
 
Final
ABCHRIST 83
HOUB 71
 
Final
NDAK 78
NEOM 80
 
Final
NILL 65
WMICH 63
 
Final
ILLCH 60
WRST 57
Final
MIZZ 63
AUB 61
Final
UGA 64
KENT 72
Final
NW 82
MICH 78
Final
CLEM 61
NCSU 66
Final
UF 66
TEXAM 62
Final
KU 76
WVU 69
Final
CREI 72
VILL 76
12:00pm Today
PBY
LONG
 
2:00pm Today
GWEBB
CAMP
 
6:00pm Tonight
UNCA
LIB
 
6:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
USB
BING
 
7:00pm Tonight
FORD
DUQ
 
7:00pm Tonight
GMAS
GWU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNH
HART
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJOE
LAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
Terriers
LIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
GTDNS
MAINE
 
7:00pm Tonight
LOU
ND
 
7:00pm Tonight
SHU
PROV
 
7:00pm Tonight
BRY
SHU
 
7:00pm Tonight
MORE
SEMIZ
 
7:00pm Tonight
MNTER
RFLSH
 
7:00pm Tonight
LSU
TENN
 
7:00pm Tonight
SFLA
UCF
 
7:00pm Tonight
VERM
UMBC
 
7:00pm Tonight
RMU
WAGN
 
7:30pm Tonight
UMASS
RICH
 
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
HOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
YALE
HOW
 
8:00pm Tonight
PITT
MIAMI
 
8:00pm Tonight
TXPA
NMST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MSU
PURD
 
8:00pm Tonight
STLU
BONA
 
8:00pm Tonight
DUKE
WAKE
 
9:00pm Tonight
TULSA
CIN
 
9:00pm Tonight
VANDY
MSST
 
9:00pm Tonight
EILL
SIUE
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
STJ
 
9:00pm Tonight
OKST
TCU
 
9:00pm Tonight
UCLA
USC
 
9:00pm Tonight
WYO
UTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
FRES
AFA
 
10:00pm Tonight
SJST
BSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
NEV
COLST
 
10:00pm Tonight
ILL
NEB
 
11:00pm Tonight
ORST
OREG
 
11:00pm Tonight
UNLV
SDST
 
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
UCSB
 
Final
PHI 2
CAL 3
Final
NJD 3
NAS 1
Final
CLB 3
WAS 5
Final
TAM 3
BUF 0
Final
FLA 2
TOR 3
Final
MIN 3
OTT 2
Final
DAL 3
NYI 2
Final
ARI 1
ANA 4
Final
VAN 2
SJS 6
Final
EDM 2
LOS 5
7:30pm Tonight
WIN
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
DET
NYR
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
MON
 
10:00pm Tonight
COL
PIT