After Jared Sullinger emphatically announced he was returning to Ohio State for his sophomore season, some people were surprised that the super-frosh wasn’t taking his talents to the NBA. Well, there might be an even more shocking return announcement coming shortly.
North Carolina freshman Harrison Barnes would definitely be selected with one of the top five picks in the 2011 NBA Draft, and is even in the mix to be the No. 1 pick. But apparently the 6’8, 210-pound forward may not be satisfied with his time in Chapel Hill thus far. According to Barnes’ mother, her son set some goals for himself when he arrived at UNC and wants to complete them.
After losing to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament on Sunday, Barnes mentioned that his emotions were pretty much the same as when his high school team lost three years ago. When that happened, Barnes was apparently crushed for three months. Following that loss he led Ames (Iowa) High School to back-to-back state titles over the next two years. Well, the same thing could be happening with the Tar Heels.
ESPN’s Chad Ford has claimed Barnes would really like to win a championship with the Tar Heels and that he’s the kind of guy who cares about more than just NBA riches.
If Barnes returns, along with Tyler Zeller and John Henson (who are both expected to return) there’s almost no doubt North Carolina would be the odds-on favorite to take home next year’s national championship. Also, the potential for an NBA work-stoppage will certainly weigh heavily on the decisions of many top prospects.
From where things stand right now we put the chances of Barnes staying at 50-50. A week ago we would have guaranteed he was gone. That’s good news for North Carolina fans.