What makes leadership so important to a team?
That’s the question Leslie McDonald has been trying to answer throughout the offseason. The lone scholarship senior on the squad, McDonald has a much bigger role than just being the starting two-guard in the Tar Heel’s lineup.
Amid the off-season there has been some issues surrounding McDonald, such as a connection to Hayden “Fats” Thomas-who was also connected to P.J. Hairston during his off-season mishaps-and has been used as a promotion for Iceberg Guards, a mouth guard company, that was sent a cease and desist letter by the University to end the promotion.
Although McDonald hasn’t been in the spotlight, partially due to the Hairston incidents, what stood out is a lack of understanding what he needs to do to be that leader. UNC basketball needs someone to step up and become more than just a veteran role player. McDonald needed to realize that during the summer. However, from an interview conducted by GoHeels.com, he seems to have taken it upon himself to find what it takes to become that leader.
Hey, it’s better late than never.
McDonald missed the entire 2011-2012 season due to an ACL tear he suffered during a North Carolina Pro-Am summer league game. Before the injury, it looked as though McDonald was going to become a much bigger cog in the Tar Heel offense. After the injury, McDonald looked like a shakier version of his 2010-2011 form but suffering an injury like that can certainly hamper the progress of a young athlete.
McDonald spent much of last season having a hard time getting his shot to fall, as his inconsistency was a big problem. Although the shooting of
Leslie McDonald sizing up his man (Photo credit: Robert Willert, News & Observer)
P.J. Hairston and now L.A. Clipper Reggie Bullock really helped in producing from behind the arc, McDonald was hitting about 35% a drop from his 2010-2011 three point shooting which was a much more effective 38%. I believe that working with the sharp-shooting Hubert Davis, McDonald will look to be a much better asset to the Tar Heel offense if he can consistently start knocking down more open threes.
McDonald’s biggest contribution as a key player for the Tar Heels is his perimeter defense. His quick feet allow him to stay close to his man, a constant pester to the opposing guards. McDonald has proven to be one of the best defensive players on the team and if his offense consistency matches that of his defensive output, then he’ll become a much bigger threat especially once tournament time comes around.
The biggest thing I look for in McDonald is mindset. He has only started in 1 out of his 100 appearances for Roy Williams and the Tar Heels. With this being his senior season and his commitment for becoming a much bigger contributor to the team, his confidence looks to be high. If he can commit to that confidence and help his teammates feed off of it, then I believe that the Tar Heel team will get that leadership out of McDonald.