Scouting the Tar Heels

During North Carolina’s 82-71 win against Boston College Saturday, I sat next to an NBA scout. As his job requires, he had a plethora of opinions. Here are a few of them from the second half:

18:22 – UNC 40, BC 35

James Michael McAdoo misses a contested breakaway layup but a delayed foul is called and McAdoo goes to the line.

“That’s how we do it in the NBA. I hate it. Either it’s a foul or it’s not.”

16:59 – UNC 43, BC 39

Leslie McDonald misses a three at the top of the key.

“He can’t buy a basket.”


“I’m a Tar Heel” starts to play, and to the delight of fans who’ve seen it a hundred times before a certain former player comes on screen: “I’m Rasheed Wallace, and I’m a Tar Heel.” The scout busts out laughing.

“If you had told me that guy would be an NBA assistant coach, I would have bet you anything it wouldn’t happen,” he said. “Unbelievable.”

13:52 – UNC 47, BC 42

Brice Johnson commits his third personal foul. It’s UNC’s sixth team foul.

“Boston College has five fouls, Carolina has six, and there’s 14 minutes left. We’re going to have a free-throw shooting contest here. That’s not good for Carolina.”

13:06 – UNC 47, BC 43

Boston College’s Ryan Anderson makes a move to the rim, but Marcus Paige steals the ball and outlets it to J.P. Tokoto for a layup.

“Ryan Anderson under the basket, that’s as good as it gets for Boston College. Marcus Paige scoops it passes to Tokoto on the other end — that’s a four-point swing. Big play in this game.”

12:00 – UNC 52, BC 46

Anderson is fouled and heads to the line. UNC has eight team fouls, Boston College has six.

“Hope you like free throws. Lots and lots of free throws.”

11:45 – UNC 52, BC 48

The scout looks up from his notebook to notice an unfamiliar face on the court.

“Oh wow, Luke Davis subbed in? Hmm.”

9:59 – UNC 56, BC 55

McAdoo is fouled and heads to the line.

“You’ve got your free-throw shooting contest. If you’ve got (Olivier) Hanlan and (Joe) Rahon shooting down there making two and McAdoo making one of two down here, (UNC) isn’t going to win that contest. You heard it here first.”

McAdoo goes one for two.

The scout looks at score updates around the ACC and sees Virginia dismantling Florida State. North Carolina travels to Charlottesville Monday to play the Cavaliers.

“They play a slow game, and it messes with other teams. When you’ve got 40 shots a game rather than 70, each one means a lot. The margin of error is huge. It’s almost as if you’re playing a different sport. If you have a run where you miss three or four shots, that’s it.”

5:46 – UNC 68, BC 59

Hanlan gets free off of a pick and cuts to the basket. McAdoo steps in front of him and is called for a blocking foul.

“In the NBA, the big guy hedges on the pick and roll. You show yourself and make him make the extra pass. Meeks didn’t hedge. In college, the big guys play like they’re glued to the floor. In the NBA, if you don’t hedge, you’re out.”

4:32 – UNC 68, BC 61

McDonald hits a three.

“He was like, what, one for 100 before he made that one?”

One for nine, actually.

3:48 – UNC 71, BC 63

Paige commits his second personal foul. It’s UNC’s 11th of the half.

“The difference between NBA and college refs is not that college refs are better or worse, it’s inconsistent. You can’t bank on it. As a coach you can’t say this is a foul if we’re up or if we’re down, if this is my best player or my worst. It’s inconsistent.”

2:07 – UNC 73, BC 66

McAdoo gets the ball on the block, pumps and then finishes through contact, drawing a foul.

“That’s power, that’s power.”

McAdoo starts to take his free throw.



“The thing with McAdoo is he isn’t any one thing. I’m not saying he’s great at everything, it just depends on the matchup. You have a guy like (Eddie) Odio, McAdoo can post him up because Odio doesn’t weigh enough. Back against Kentucky when he’s facing a bigger, slower (Julius) Randle, you give him space and he drives all day long. It’s all about the match-ups. And in the NBA, that’s even more true.”

1:41 – UNC 75, BC 66

McAdoo steps in front of Odio, and the two collide. Odio is called for his fifth personal foul. Boston College coach Steve Donahue’s reaction gets him a technical foul — he claims it is his first ever.

“On the replay, he was sliding a little. (Flopping is) an important skill in basketball nowadays. Back in the day, you had to stay in there and take it like a man.”

1:29 – UNC 78, BC 68

Kennedy Meeks makes an outlet pass to Tokoto.

“What a beautiful outlet. Great pass”

Tokoto misses the breakaway dunk that ricochets off the rim and almost to the ceiling.

“(Laughs) Lost Meeks a nice assist.”

1:17 – UNC 78, BC 68

Tokoto misses a free throw.

“Back in the day, we never had that. Guards made free throws. It was the big guys who could struggle. You know what they called a guard who couldn’t make free throws? A non-player. Even if they could jump out of the gym like this guy.”

Final – UNC 82, BC 71

“They had to get that one. That was a must.”

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