Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall will enter the 2012 NBA Draft, leaving North Carolina without their three top underclassmen for the 12-13 season.
"It's a great day for three youngsters who are taking another step toward their ultimate goal of playing professional basketball," coach Roy Williams said in a statement. "On a very small stage, it's a sad day for me because I won't get to coach them again. All Tar Heel fans will miss them greatly, as well."
James Michael McAdoo will likely return to North Carolina for his sophomore season, his father, Ronnie, confirmed.
“He’s coming home this weekend, and we’ll talk about the pros and cons; he’ll weigh the decision,’’ the elder McAdoo said Tuesday. “But right now, his mother and I expect to see him in a Tar Heel uniform again next season."
McAdoo scored at least 14 points in three of UNC's seven postseason games after reaching double figures three times in the regular season.
“He really did play well at the end of the year … as he grew more and more comfortable playing with his teammates, and they grew comfortable playing with him,’’ Ronnie McAdoo said. “…But to be honest, you haven’t seen what James Michael can really do yet. Here’s a kid that can put the ball on the floor, finish with dunks, alley oops, shake the 3. … I think we’ll see more and more of that.”
Kansas shifted into a triangle-and-two defense near the 8-minute mark of its 80-67 Midwest Regional final win over the Tar Heels.
“Everywhere you went, there was help defense right there and ready,” Harrison Barnes said. “I remember the one time: I caught it on the left wing, pump fake, Travis Releford goes in the air. I take one dribble and Elijah Johnson or Tyshawn Taylor is right there.”
North Carolina went scoreless over the final five minutes as the Jayhawks ended the game on 12-0 run.
“I don’t know what they were playing,” said John Henson, who had just four of his 10 points after halftime. “But they sagged the big man into the lane. And I think that really disoriented our offense.”
Barnes indicated that the North Carolina players didn’t know that the triangle-and-two scheme was part of Kansas’ defense repertoire.
“They haven’t done it in the past,” said Barnes, who finished with 13 points while missing all five of his three-point attempts. “But they tried it out against us.”
Kendall Marshall participated in non-contact portions of practice for the first time since having surgery Monday to insert a screw in his wrist.
"The first two times we went up the court, doing the warm-up drill, I was going as fast as I could," Marshall said. "I was out of breath, and I was, like, 'I've got to slow down. We've still got a full practice ahead of us.' Sitting down for six days straight, not being able to do anything, that's been frustrating. It felt good just to get out there and move around.
"I definitely felt the pain, but there's going to be pain there for the next six weeks. It's just a matter of how much I can take."
Mashall’s status will be determined after the Tar Heels’ pregame shootaround on Sunday.
"Now," Roy Williams said, "we want to see if it bothers him or if it pains him or if it swells up or if his toes curls or whatever happens next. And then tomorrow at (the) shoot-around, we'll try to probably do the same thing.
"And then, there's two things that have to happen. One, he has to feel comfortable that he's not hurting. And then two, I have to decide: Can he be effective in the game with his situation?"
Roy Williams sounded doubtful about Kendall Marshall’s status for the Tar Heels in Friday’s NCAA Midwest Region semifinal against Ohio.
“If he comes into my room tomorrow and says ‘My wrist feels great’ drops down to the floor and does 10 right-handed pushups, then I’ll say I’ll probably play his rear end,” Williams said Thursday. “But I don’t expect that to happen. I mean, the guy can’t brush his teeth right now.”
Marshall hasn’t practiced since Sunday, when he broke the scaphoid bone in his non-shooting wrist during North Carolina’s win over Creighton.
“The bottom line is he has not participated in one play since last Sunday when I took him out of the (Creighton) game,” Williams said. “He has not guarded one possession, he’s not passed one ball, he’s not shot one ball. And yet, there are people that say he can play.
“But there’s only five people that are going to make this decision – first, Kendall, second and third his mom and dad, fourth would be the doctors and the fifth would be me. It’s going to have to be unanimous, and I just don’t see that happening.”