James Michael McAdoo earned a spot on the Golden State Warriors after departing North Carolina and is now in his third season with the NBA’s winningest team. He’s played in 91 games and has a championship ring to show for it. The Norfolk, Va. native, who twice earned second team All-ACC honors at UNC, reflected on his Tar Heel year in an interview with Inside Carolina.
How did you choose Carolina?
Carolina chose me. Growing up, I was always a Tar Heel fan. I remember in 2009 when they won the national championship, getting recruited when I was in high school. Then, guys like Harrison [Barnes] and John [Henson] went there and continued the legacy. It was a lot of fun, going there and playing with those guys.
Those were some good teammates …
A lot of pros, but also a lot of guys that sacrificed. They could have gone to any other school, but chose to go to Carolina and be a part of something bigger. You could just name all the guys that have come through that system, and just to be considered a part of that group is something I’ll never forget.
What did you think about the UNC campus?
To me it’s the most beautiful college campus that you can go to, other than the University of Hawaii. We get all four seasons, and the student body is super down to earth. They treat you like a regular student. And the education is top notch.
Where did you live in Chapel Hill?
My first two years I lived on campus in the dorms right across from the Dean Dome. My last year I lived off campus on West Franklin Street.
Who are some are your best friends, not in the NBA?
Jackson Simmons, who I came in with as a freshman. He’s a graduate assistant at UNC-Charlotte. Desmond Hubert, he’s playing overseas. Another guy, Luke Davis, he was a transfer from Gardner-Webb. He’s just working a nine to five. Those are (non-pro) guys I stay in touch with.
What are some of your favorite moments as a player?
Definitely my freshman year, winning the ACC (regular season) championship. Being able to put a banner up, and be a part of something that’s bigger than yourself, bigger than the team. Just being able to add to the legacy of Carolina basketball. Especially the way we did it, going into Duke, tied for the ACC regular season, and being able to win it in Cameron.
Who showed you the ropes at UNC?
Harrison Barnes mentored me. Also Marvin Williams was a guy that when I first got to the campus, he steered me in the right direction and really helped me. I got to play with Harrison for two years. I consider him one of my best friends to this day.
What are some of your favorite places in Chapel Hill?
Sutton’s Drug Store, The Dean Dome, the Basketball Museum, with all its history. It gives me goose bumps. Just take a walk down Franklin Street.
What about the decision to turn pro?
If you talk to anybody who played basketball at UNC, it’s a tough decision to leave, but at the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for yourself. And for me I felt it was time to turn pro. I ended up going undrafted. But I had confidence in myself. This is my third year in the NBA, and it’s been nothing but great. And I just continue to work hard and represent North Carolina the way Roy Williams and the coaching staff taught me.
Was it humbling to go undrafted?
It definitely was humbling, not getting drafted, and then going to the D-League after I got cut by the Warriors. Having that experience in the back of my mind, not really wanting to go back there, I still realize how blessed I am to be in the position God has put me in. This is my third year. I couldn’t ask for better teammates.