Tag Archives: Leslie McDonald

Finish the Season Strong

UNC National Championship Banners

(Originally posted on Facebook immediately after UNC lost to Duke in Durham, 93-81.  Follow us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaTarHeelsOnMyMind.)

McAdoo’s early foul trouble, Meeks’ illness, a great game by Hood, and a stellar game by Parker were too much for this Heel team to overcome. They’ll learn from this, and they’ll grow because of this.

This season is far from over, and we’ll still make some noise this year in both tournaments. But the dividends of some of these tough losses — especially the one tonight — will really show up next year and even the next.

We can’t start a game like this not matching their intensity. We have to stay poised and take care of the ball much better than we did tonight. (Early in the game, we had 6 points and 6 turnovers. Think about that.) And Paige can’t wait until the second half to start exerting his will on the offensive end. He has to break that pattern.

A coach can tell players those things over and over and over. But sometimes the players only partially understand words. They think they understand, but on nights like tonight, it becomes clear what “playing with a sense of urgency” and “playing the full 40 minutes” really means.

We have good guys on our team. They have heart, they’re talented, they’re coachable, and they’re resilient. They never give up — one of my favorite things about this team. They have far exceeded my expectations once we all learned PJ would not rejoin the team. But my expectations for them next year will be much higher.

For now, let’s finish the season strong. Let’s try to continue to exceed expectations. Let’s keep getting better.

Go Heels!

UNC vs Duke — Round 1, 2014

UNC Stomps Duke 400 x 400

Here we sit less than 48 hours away from tip-off of potentially one of the most exciting men’s college basketball games of the season:  UNC vs Duke — Round 1 in Chapel Hill.

Duke is the higher ranked team and the team most of the talking heads expect to come out victorious Wednesday night.  But when these two rivals meet, you never know what the outcome will be until it happens.

Tonight,  #17 ranked UNC women’s basketball marched a team of mostly freshmen and sophomores into Hansbrough Indoor Stadium, a.k.a. Cameron Indoor Stadium, and handily knocked off the #3 ranked women Blue Devils 89-78.  Let’s hope the ladies inspired our Tar Heel men to follow suit and complete the sweep of Round 1, UNC vs Duke.

Celebrating Tar Heel Basketball – 2010, 2011, 2012

Enjoy this well-done Tar Heel basketball video from fireholdenthorp on YouTube. Relive many of the highlights of the last two seasons, celebrate the players headed to the NBA plus those who are returning or soon starting their Tar Heel careers.

Embedly Powered

UNC Season Ended as the Tar Heels Fell to Kansas

Already playing with an injured wrist, Henson goes down with a turned ankle.

Click anywhere on the photo to be taken to the complete UNC vs KU photo gallery at Inside Carolina.

 

The 2012 UNC season ended as the Tar Heels fell to the KU Jayhawks in the Elite Eight.  Even though the Tar Heels posted an enviable 32-5 season record, this season failed to meet the lofty expectations of many University of North Carolina Tar Heel fans and players.

The Heels had a talented, deep roster filled with good kids. And no matter how hard the fans fought against it, it was difficult to refrain from expecting this group to be at least one of the two teams left standing as the National Championship game commenced.

Most of all, the season didn’t go as expected for first, Leslie McDonald; then, Dexter Strickland; next, John Henson; and finally, Kendall Marshall. Three of those guys ended the season in suits watching their teammates try valiantly to edge through to the Final Four as they battled a good Kansas Jayhawks team. The fourth, John Henson, was a shell of himself on the court yesterday, but he was out there bandaged and trying nonetheless.

It was a season of highs and lows — a season that yielded more serious injuries to key UNC Tar Heel players than I can remember to any previous Carolina basketball team. This team persevered and gradually improved — though by fits and spurts. They weathered injury after injury and continued to compete at a high level. They were even peaking at exactly the right time.

Kendall Marshall going down with a broken wrist meant every other starter and key reserve had to bring his best game in order for the team to make it past KU in the Elite Eight. And that simply didn’t happen. The players fought hard overall, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.

Tyler Zeller had a superb senior season. Reggie Bullock lived up to the promise he displayed as a star player in high school. Kendall Marshall was in the process of completing a spectacular season of passing, leadership, and eventual overall outstanding play. John Henson progressed in his development and arguably became a star. James Michael McAdoo’s basketball game started catching up with his phenomenal athleticism.  And a relatively unknown point guard from Wilmington — a young man who logged only a few minutes here and there throughout the season — played excellently when he was suddenly thrust into a huge roll at the most critical and most competitive juncture of the season.

I’m proud of this team, and I’m disappointed for them that they were unable to achieve their dream for this season. Unfortunately, the seniors have no opportunity for a do-over.

And now we wait. Tyler Zeller and Justin Watts are graduating and moving on. Zeller will make a fine NBA professional for years to come in my opinion, and Justin is likely to have an opportunity to play overseas if he so desires. The ‘experts’ currently predict high draft picks for underclassmen Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall, and even reserve James Michael McAdoo. Furthermore, after an outstanding Sweet 16 performance by Reggie Bullock, his name is being floated around as an early-entrant possibility too. Add to the unknown that no one yet can determine at what level Leslie McDonald and Dexter Strickland will be playing when they are able to return from their injuries. Will they be as quick, explosive, and effective as they were prior to their knee surgeries or not?

This year was supposed to be the Tar Heels’ year. If the expected mass exodus to the NBA occurs, next year will be a rebuilding year for sure. Realistically, the year after will likely be as well.

Good luck, young men. Take a well-deserved break. Make the best decisions for you and your families. And then let’s get down to business and start preparing for next year’s Tar Heel hard court edition.

Gallery

Season-Ending Injury to Strickland Big Loss to Tar Heels

SHARE WITH ►The University of North Carolina Tar Heels found their rhythm in the second half against the Virginia Tech Hokies in Blacksburg, but the Heels lost their best perimeter defender when 6’-3” junior starting combo guard Dexter Strickland fell … Continue reading

Game by Game Player Awards

Through first 13 games of 2010-2011 season… (Copied from IowaTarHeel’s post/thread on ZZL.)