NBPA: Q&A with Leslie McDonald

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. --- You asked and Leslie McDonald answered. We collected questions from Inside Carolina's readers and then sat down with the future Tar Heel at the NBPA Top 100 Camp this week to present him with some of your questions ...

What was your favorite part of your visit to UNC?

"My favorite part was when Roy Williams and Coach Robinson showed me around the gym. They told me to stand in the middle of the gym and look up – I looked around and saw all that Carolina Blue and it was just something in that atmosphere that made me fall in love with it."

What about Roy Williams pinpoints why he's a good fit as your coach?

"When we talked, he put it straight. He told me he really wanted me, he thought I could bring something to North Carolina and at the same time he showed me the things I'm good at – slashing game, shooting game – and the things I can improve on – moving without the ball, better defense. He's an honest coach and that's what I want."

Not many players are top targets of both UNC and Duke. You got to see both up close, so what did you see as the differences between the schools and basketball programs.

"North Carolina is a large school and Duke is more isolated and small. And it has different coaching styles – Coach K likes to run through the guards on the outside and Coach Williams likes to push it up but have that sense of control and get the big man involved."

What was the single most important consideration in your choice to come to Carolina?

"I just felt like I had to get comfortable. I had to get comfortable with the people around me – the coaching staff and the players. Yeah, I'm going to see the facilities, but to be comfortable with them was most important. And that was a ‘thumbs up' at North Carolina."

When and where were you at the exact moment you decided that UNC was the place to be?

"It wasn't an exact moment that I decided. I had to come back home, think about it and that's when I made my decision. My decision was real thought out, because it was a hard choice. But when Roy Williams told me to look around the gym, I don't know, it was just a good feeling that I had that made me think North Carolina was the place for me."

Did the players already committed to UNC in the class of 2009 impact your decision?

"A lot of people say, ‘Why did you go to North Carolina when there are so many big-time prospects going there already?' I tell them that I love to be on a team with so much talent. Because when you have so much talent on a team, it makes your talent level and intensity level go up. So we're going to all make each other better … I know those guys [that have already committed]. I talked to Dexter Strickland before, right now me and Kendall Marshall are real good friends at this camp – we sport our Carolina Blue – I talk to the Wear twins and not too long ago John Henson talked to me. And hopefully we'll all talk more often. I'm looking forward to it."

Have you begun to look at Duke as an arch-rival yet?

"I know North Carolina dislikes Duke, but I have a friend, Elliot Williams, who is going to Duke. I've thought about that often, ‘Man, Duke is our enemy now,' but I can't say I dislike them because they recruited me and I have a relationship with Coach K. It may have to come down to when we're playing against them. … It's funny thing with me and Elliot because our high schools are down the street from each other and our schools are arch-rivals. And him going to Duke and me going to North Carolina is the same, since they are only a few miles from each other. The trash talking hasn't started yet, but I think it's coming."

Which NBA/college player do you model your game after?

"I've looked at a lot of Dwyane Wade's moves and Kirk Hinrich and I really try to polish my game after those two. I really like Dwyane Wade's game, the slashing and mid-range game. I'm not exactly like him, he's much better, but he loves that mid-range game and I love the mid-range game, too."

What do you feel are the strongest and weakest parts of your game right now?

"My strengths are my shooting ability and being able to create off the dribble and attack the basket. I think my weaknesses that I need to work on is moving without the ball. And also my defense, I really need to work on that."

Have you thought about what number you want to wear at UNC?

"I told Coach [Williams] that I hope they save the No. 2 for me, because that's been my high school number. I hope they save it, but if it's taken I'll have to roll with it … but I'd really like to wear No. 2."

What would you like to study at UNC?

"I want to study in art, especially in design and the architectural field. Maybe major in the arts and then come back and go into architecture. And hopefully one day own an architectural firm and have people working for me."

What's your nickname?

"It's been a year now since my team called me L-Mac. They just started calling me that. That's my preferred name. Any time someone says L-Mac, I look over."

What do you hope to accomplish in college both on and off the court?

"I hope in basketball to improve my game and also help improve other peoples' games at the same time; get everything Coach Williams teaches and use that to my advantage. And off the court get as much knowledge as I can and learn to be successful in life. … Right now I'm just trying to stay focused and be on top of my game -- hopefully have a great senior year and get ready for North Carolina. I can't wait."

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