ACC’s Top-100: No. 50 Leslie McDonald, North Carolina


UPDATE: This list and this write up was done a while ago. As most of you should know by now, Leslie McDonald tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a Summer league game. While he’s out of action for an “indefinite” amount of time, take it from me, it is doubtful he will play this season.

Having said that, enjoy the post. It would have been really, really accurate if he didn’t get hurt.

PLAYER: Leslie McDonald
POSITION: Shooting Guard
TEAM: North Carolina
YEAR: Junior
TAPE: 6-4, 215

2010-11 STATS: 7.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg (.386/.744/.381)

Just a couple years ago, the Duke Blue Devils’ coaching staff was trying to bring Leslie McDonald to Durham. He passed on Duke and headed down the street to Chapel Hill.

Two years later you have to wonder if he made the right decision. At this point it is doubtful he’ll ever start for coach Roy Williams, as Carolina is stacked with shooting guards. Now I’m not saying life would have been better at Duke, since they too are solid at the two-spot, but McDonald is probably talented enough to be a starter on plenty of rosters around college basketball.

Anyhow, that’s that, he’s still in Carolina, so let’s see what McDonald has going for him.

Heading into 2011-2012, McDonald is probably Carolina’s best three-point shooter, but I’m not sure that’s saying much. He did hit a respectable 38-percent from deep, second only to Harrison Barnes in attempts. However, I wouldn’t call him a three-point specialist. Only half of his shots in college have been three pointers.

The thing about McDonald is, he doesn’t do any ONE thing great. He’s a good ball handler, but he’s not going to impress anyone with it. He can penetrate, but he’s not going to win a lot of one-on-one battles.

I think he benefits tremendously from the fact that he’s really the last option on the court. When teams try to find  a way to stop North Carolina, no one is going to waste more than ten seconds talking about stopping McDonald. When a player needs to be doubled, it is more than likely be coming from McDonald’s man.

Now he did improve last season as a defender, which is a big reason he remained the number one option off the bench at the two-spot. His footwork was stronger and he put his length to good use. He certainly wasn’t a liability.

The challenge for McDonald moving forward is to keep improving. For the second straight year, Roy Williams will be bringing in a more touted shooting guard. Last year it was Reggie Bullock. The freshman was supposed to be a gunner from deep, bu McDonald held him off as the primary backup.

This year it’s P.J. Hairston.

Like Bullock, Hairston comes in with a reputation as a deadly scorer from outside. He also comes in with a NBA ready body and more potential than Bullock. Holding off both Bullock (who is returning from injury) and Hairston may be too big of challenge for Leslie.

I suspect McDonald’s minutes to slip to around the 10-12 minute range.