Eighteen hundred miles from home, cut off from all cell-phone service, TV or Internet access, talented North Carolina recruit James McAdoo finally found the solitude he needed to make one of the biggest decisions of his life.
By the end of a 12-day mission trip repairing rooftops in Managua, Nicaragua, with 30 fellow students from Norfolk Christian High, McAdoo was certain that rushing into college was the wrong choice. So the 6-foot-8 power forward decided to remain at Norfolk Christian for his senior year of high school rather than enrolling a year early at North Carolina to help bolster the Tar Heels' depleted front court.
"James Michael spent a lot of time in prayer during this trip and the time away from any form of media allowed him to focus and reflect on what would be the best decision for him," his mother Janet McAdoo wrote via email. "We spoke with Coach Roy Williams today and he is in total support of James Michael's decision and has been very supportive during this entire process, which definitely solidifies James' decision to attend UNC."
McAdoo had previously considered attending North Carolina a year early because the Tar Heels will have a shortage of capable big men next season. Ed Davis turned pro, Deon Thompson graduated and the Wear twins unexpectedly transferred, leaving oft-hurt Tyler Zeller, unproven John Henson and Alabama transfer Justin Knox as the only scholarship frontcourt players on the roster.
What made the decision difficult for McAdoo is that he knew he could have helped North Carolina immediately had he come early. 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 from 3-point range.
"North Carolina certainly could use McAdoo this season," Jerry Meyer, national recruiting analyst from Rivals.com, said last month. "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."