Capitals

McAdoo still developing into UNC's go-to guy

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McAdoo still developing into UNC's go-to guy

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) James Michael McAdoo is still learning how to be North Carolina's go-to guy, from facing high expectations as an NBA prospect to overcoming defenses aiming to frustrate him.

At times, he's been an athletic big man who beats defenders to the rim, flies into the paint to crash the boards and reliably knocks down a face-up jumper. At others, he looked tentative and content to blend in instead of seizing the lead role.

But McAdoo describes himself as a young player making gradual improvement that mirrors his team's oncourt growth.

``I'm not worried about myself in general,'' McAdoo said. ``I've been playing basketball my whole life. All I know is to just keep playing and keep working. I feel like I'm confident and I know as long as I do what I'm supposed to do - that I'm showing up every day ready to work and putting in the extra time - that everything will take care of itself.''

At first glance, the 6-foot-9, 230-pound sophomore from Norfolk, Va., is right on schedule heading into Saturday night's trip to No. 18 North Carolina State. He's averaging 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds to lead the team in both categories and he's scored in double figures in every game but one for the Tar Heels (13-5, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won three straight and are chasing their 14th straight win against the rival Wolfpack (15-4, 4-2).

Yet bring up McAdoo to fans or poke around online, and much of the talk centers on what McAdoo isn't doing.

He's not a dominant scorer. He's not an elite rebounder. He's a tweener who lacks a true back-to-the-basket game and some polish on the perimeter.

He's also gone from playing behind three NBA first-round picks as a freshman to the top of the scouting report.

``The defense was never aimed at him - we still had Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and those guys,'' UNC coach Roy Williams said Friday. ``It's a lot easier when the defense is not aimed to stop you. And now who do they talk about? They talk about James Michael and Reggie (Bullock). It's hard to handle that.''

The results have been solid but unspectacular so far.

McAdoo - a relative of former UNC great Bob McAdoo - had career highs of 26 points and 14 rebounds in the opener against Gardner-Webb, but he hasn't scored 20 points since and has managed just five double-doubles all year. He's shooting just 45 percent from the field and 58 percent from the foul line.

Still, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried sees improvement.

``I think even lately in the last couple of weeks, to me it seems like he is a lot more aggressive and he has taken on the responsibility to be one of the hardest-working players on the floor,'' Gottfried said. ``When I watch him, I sense more urgency from him than I did early on. ... It just seems like he's a lot more involved in everything.''

He also remains an unselfish player who doesn't dominate the ball and has taken at least 15 shots just five times all year, which seems to conflict with the expectations for an NBA prospect.

``There's times at Carolina - and I've never said this to him - I'm sitting here and I'm saying, `OK James Michael, it's time for you to take over now,''' said Ronnie McAdoo, James Michael's father who played at Old Dominion and professionally overseas. ``But he's never been that type of player.

``The most amazing thing is everybody criticizes him for being this low-key, not bang-bang-hit-you-in-the-chest guy, but it works for James Michael. He's been extremely successful with the way he plays.''

McAdoo, who turned 20 this month, was a McDonald's All-American who looked lost in primarily spot duty for much of his rookie season. But things changed when Henson's wrist injury thrust McAdoo into major minutes through the ACC and NCAA tournaments.

McAdoo blossomed and built confidence in March, ending with a team-high 15 points in the loss to Kansas in a regional final. He flirted with entering the draft before returning to school and the spotlight that awaited.

Michael Allen, McAdoo's high school coach at Norfolk Christian, said it's a place the soft-spoken McAdoo has never been comfortable.

``He wants to be one of the guys,'' Allen said. ``He wants to show up and do his job and go home. That's just his personality. You're not going to change it. Part of you wishes he was just a little meaner ... but at the same time that's just his makeup. It is what it is. I don't consider it a weakness. That's just the way God made him.''

Still, McAdoo knows he can do more and he's determined to tune out any outside chatter that says otherwise. On Wednesday night, that meant sticking around the Smith Center to shoot extra free throws after going 4-for-10 against Georgia Tech.

That mindset was good enough to get him here. He believes it can take him further.

``Coming in knowing that I was going to play big minutes, I think that's something I really had to prepare for mentally this summer,'' McAdoo said. ``But nothing could really help me other than going out there and playing it. We still have so much more room for improvement, me personally and as a team. I'm very confident with where I am right now and I'm happy with where I am right now.''

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197