Tyler Zeller, John Henson Returning To North Carolina

April 6, 2011 – 9:28 pm by Ryan Phillips

We’ve discussed the future of current North Carolina freshman Harrison Barnes and how he is leaning towards retuning to school. Well, now two of his teammates have decided to bypass the 2011 NBA Draft and return to Chapel Hill.

On Wednesday both Tyler Zeller and John Henson announced they will be back at North Carolina next season. That means even without Barnes, the Tar Heels have to be considered a championship favorite in 2012. With McDonald’s All-Americans James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston scheduled to be on campus this fall, Roy Williams is going to have a ridiculously loaded roster even if Barnes heads to the draft.

Henson is very raw offensively but is a great defensive presence. He averaged 11.7 points, 10.1 points and 3.2 blocks per game. Zeller blossomed in the tournament, raising his averages to 15.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Zeller and Henson will easily be the best inside duo in the nation. Mix in sophomore-to-be Kendall Marshall at point guard and the Tar Heels look stacked.

This year UNC reached the Elite Eight with a squad loaded with potential but clearly it hadn’t reached its ceiling. They could be fun to watch next year.

Zeller and Henson’s announcement also had the effect of further weakening the 2011 NBA Draft, which might be the worst in a generation. If Barnes skips out on the draft as expected, the 2011 class will be that much worse.

Some fringe first round prospects might decide to go pro because in a normal year they’d fall to the second round, but in a year like this they might get taken much higher.

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  1. 4 Responses to “Tyler Zeller, John Henson Returning To North Carolina”

  2. I hate to say it, but, yeah…this team is going to be unbelievable. Even if Barnes does a 180 and doesn’t come back, they are going to easily be the top team in the country. The only thing that will slow them down is Roy trying to do too much with all his players. That’s a deep bench; gotta get ’em all in!

    By MJenks on Apr 7, 2011

  3. Honestly, I don’t mind UNC as much as I mind Duke, but I don’t have to live down there. And yeah, that is setting up to be a title team. Especially because guys like Marshall, Barnes and Zeller all seem like team-first guys who will do whatever it takes to win.

    By Phillips on Apr 7, 2011

  4. Barnes is truly a remarkable young talent. But, experience is the key to success. Whether he returns or not UNC should be in the drivers seat in the nations best college sport. However if Barnes decides to return (which I can only hope) College Basketball will truly be a thing to watch next year.

    By CThompson on Apr 11, 2011

  5. Barnes is true young talent.He needs to stay four years to get his education like Sam Perkins, Jimmy Black,and Kenny Smith. He is not ready for NBA yet!!

    By Darren Greene on Apr 11, 2011

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