With North Carolina lacking interior depth as a result of the unexpected departure of David and Travis Wear last month, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams openly bemoaned the lack of available players in the class of 2010 who could help.
That's when a member of North Carolina's 2011 recruiting class realized he might be the solution.
James McAdoo's mother confirmed the highly touted 6-foot-9 forward is considering graduating from Norfolk Christian a year early and joining the Tar Heels next season, as first reported Tuesday by Scout.com's Dave Telep. The 6-foot-9 forward would join Alabama transfer Justin Knox as late additions to a North Carolina frontcourt that also includes returnees John Henson and Tyler Zeller.
"This type of decision is very personal and is laden with both pros and cons," Janet McAdoo said via email. "When we have made a final decision, we will release that information to the press. We would like it to be known that we approached North Carolina with this prospect and it was in no way initiated by anyone at The University of North Carolina."
It's not unusual for football prospects to enroll in college a semester early to participate in spring practice, but the trend of basketball players skipping their senior year is a far more recent phenomenon. Whereas it seemed like isolated cases when Daniel Hackett enrolled at USC a year early in 2006 and Andre Dawkins did the same at Duke last year, McAdoo would be at least the third player this spring alone to announce he's forgoing his final year of high school.
UCLA suggested to Matt Carlino that playing time was available for him next season if he enrolled early, so the sweet-shooting guard added three accelerated senior-level classes to his junior class load in hopes of capitalizing on his window of opportunity. And guard Scottie Wilbekin will enroll at Florida a year early under similar circumstances, providing depth at backcourt behind Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton.
North Carolina has a similar need for McAdoo, though it was mitigated to an extent by the addition of Knox last week. McAdoo, Rivals.com's third ranked player in the class of 2011, led Norfolk Christian to the Virginia Division II state championship last season, averaging 22.5 points and 9.9 rebounds and hitting 44 percent three-point range.
"North Carolina certainly could use McAdoo this season," said Jerry Meyer, national recruiting analyst from Rivals.com. "The frontline is thin and McAdoo is good enough to make an impact right away. He is the best post player in the 2011 class."
Meyer believes it's unlikely McAdoo will ultimately decide to leave high school early because he wants to participate in USA Basketball this summer and be a McDonald's All-American next spring. McAdoo admitted those things are important to him in the Scout.com report, but insisted he's strongly considering tackling the summer academic workload it would take to become eligible at North Carolina next season.
"It's way better than playing against high school competition," he said of the college game. "Even if I did go I could red-shirt, maybe put on some pounds and develop my game. But, there are so many things that could change. If I stay at Norfolk Christian we'd have a tough schedule but I don't know if that would be the best for helping me get to my end goal."