As expected, super-frosh forward Harrison Barnes has announced he will return to North Carolina for his sophomore season. We’ve discussed this before, but Barnes was essentially guaranteed to be a top three pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. That said, it has been claimed that Barnes is a different type of kid who feels like he has much left to accomplish in Tar Heel blue.
Here’s part of Barnes’ statement:
“As a team we’re preparing for a special season. My offseason plans are to diligently work on honing my basketball skills in all areas with one team-goal in mind – to bring the 2012 national championship home to UNC.”
With Barnes back in the fold following the announcement that both Tyler Zeller and John Henson would be returning, North Carolina instantly becomes the title favorite for next year.
Barnes arrived in Chapel Hill as one of the top high school players in the nation (No. 2 player in the 2010 class according to Rivals.com), and a shoo-in to be one of the first players selected in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Barnes struggled to find his footing early on, but eventually rounded out his game and emerged as a dominant force for the Tar Heels. He finished the year averaging 15.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. The 6’8 Iowa native came alive over the last few weeks of the season though, averaging 21.6 points and 6.3 rebounds in March, including a 40-point game against Clemson in the semifinals of the ACC tournament.
I think it’s great that a guy with Barnes’ talent level has decided to return to school. By virtually all reports he’s a great kid, a good student and a solid citizen. Having more of that type of kid inhabiting college basketball is good for everyone.
On the flip side, Barnes’ decision further weakens what may be the worst NBA Draft class in a generation.