CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina got a boost inside with the return of James Michael McAdoo while taking a hit on the perimeter with Reggie Bullock’s decision to enter the NBA draft.
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The two players announced their plans Tuesday, with McAdoo announcing plans to return for his junior season hours after Bullock announced he would skip his senior season.
In a statement from the school Tuesday night, McAdoo, a 6-foot-9 forward, said he conferred with his parents and coach Roy Williams before deciding to pass on the NBA draft for the second straight year.
“I love this school and my teammates and I love being a North Carolina basketball player,” McAdoo said. “There will certainly be a time when I want to play in the NBA, but right now I truly enjoy college life and I want to continue doing that for another season.”
McAdoo was potentially a high NBA first-round draft pick after his freshman year and was projected as a first-rounder again this year. He was second on the team in scoring at 14.4 points and averaged a team-best 7.3 rebounds.
“I am ecstatic about having the opportunity to coach James Michael for another season,” Williams said in a statement. “He’s an incredible young man who did some really nice things this year. He’s going to be an even better player in the future. Coaching young people like James Michael is what makes me enjoy coaching so much.
“James Michael’s decision says a lot about the University of North Carolina and his teammates. He truly enjoys the entire collegiate experience. It’s the reason he came to this decision.”
Earlier Tuesday, Bullock said he had “a great experience” at UNC but that he’s “ready to take the next step in my career.”
“We did some great things that have prepared me to play in the NBA,” Bullock said. “I know the Tar Heels will have a great year next season.”
The 6-foot-7 guard averaged 13.9 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 44 percent on 3-pointers. He was a second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference pick by the media and coaches.
He’s considered a second-round pick in many mock drafts, which would leave him without a guaranteed NBA contract.
“Our hope is that his decision will work out in a very positive manner for Reggie,” Williams said in a statement. “He has big dreams and we will help him and support him in his efforts to reach those dreams. I’ll always enjoy reflecting on Reggie’s three seasons as a big part of our program.”
Bullock’s decision, first reported by Yahoo! Sports, came less than a week after leading scorer P.J. Hairston announced he would return for his junior year. The three players helped UNC (25-11) reach the ACC tournament final and the third round of the NCAA tournament, though much of the success came after Williams elevated Hairston into a four-guard starting lineup in February.
The return of Hairston and McAdoo means the Tar Heels will have their top two scorers back along with second-year point guard Marcus Paige and a recruiting class featuring McDonald’s All-American big men Isaiah Hicks — The Associated Press men’s prep player of the year for North Carolina — and three time AP all-state pick Kennedy Meeks from Charlotte.
“I’m certainly looking forward to coaching P.J. and James Michael again,” Williams said. “They have grown a lot as young men in their first two years at Carolina and I expect them to be fantastic leaders for us next season.”