The first in a weekly series recapping the 2013-14 Tar Heels. First up: the lone scholarship senior, Leslie McDonald.
Season stats: 10.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 38.6 FG%, 31.2 3P%
Season in a sentence: After missing the first nine games of the season, Leslie McDonald's return to the lineup forced opponents to gameplan for an additional perimeter threat.
Season highlights: McDonald made a triumphant return to the lineup against Texas, scoring 15 points and nailing four three-pointers in his first game as a senior. His presence provided what Carolina sorely missed in his absence-the legitimate threat of a perimeter shooter to complement Marcus Paige.
Immediately upon his return, McDonald seemed slightly uncertain about his role, and sometimes forced his offense. He hoisted double-digit shots in five of his first six games and struggled through a 4-for-21 stretch from the three-point line at the close of nonconference play and start of ACC competition. But after going 0-for-3 from three and a meager 1-for-5 from the field overall at Syracuse, the Memphis native started to come alive against Boston College.
His 10 points against the Eagles began a string of five straight double-figure scoring games, capped with a 20-point performance in a win over NC State. The game against the Wolfpack included a seven-for-13 shooting effort, his second-most field goals in a game this year.
After four games in single digits, McDonald had perhaps the best game of his career in the home win against Duke, as he shot 9-of-12 from the floor and poured in a season-high 21 points to go with four rebounds. His jumper with 3:54 remaining gave the Tar Heels the lead for good at 62-60. He then followed that up with 19 points two days later against Wake Forest. While he had done it from two-point range against Duke, his production against the Deacons was largely from the perimeter, as he drained five of six three-pointers.
While playing a career-high 27 minutes per game (almost 10 minutes more than any previous season), McDonald finished the season second on the team in three-pointers made and third in scoring.
Postseason: After rough outings in the first two games of the preseason-McDonald was 0-for-2 against Pitt in the ACC Tournament and 2-for-8 against Providence in the first NCAA game-the senior was much more effective against Iowa State. McDonald shot 7-for-15 from the floor against the Cyclones, including 4-of-9 from the three-point line, and finished with 18 points.
Season stats: 12.8: McDonald's turnover rate of 12.8% was the second-best on the team.
5.5: Number of three-pointers attempted per game by the senior, the second-highest figure on the team (trailing only Marcus Paige's 6.5).