In today’s age of underclassmen ruling the NBA draft boards, it should not be a surprise to see North Carolina sophomore Harrison Barnes in the 2012 NBA draft. The 6’8″ small forward has the potential to be a scoring machine and a dominant player. But would another year in Chapel Hill do Harrison justice?
After the Tar Heels lost to Kansas on Sunday during the regional finals of the NCAA tournament, NBA Lottery Mock Draft boards show four UNC players in the top 12: James Michael McAdoo 6th, Harrison Barnes 7th, Tyler Zeller 11th, and Kendall Marshall 12th. The only one that has to be there is Zeller, a graduating senior. If North Carolina head coach, Roy Williams, can convince several of his players to stay, the Tar Heels will easily be next years #1 team in the nation. For their starting line up, I would put Kendall Marshall back in at point guard, PJ Hairston or Reggie Bullock at shooting guard, and Barnes back at small forward. I would then put McAdoo on the front line with John Henson. Currently at 6’9″ McAdoo has the athletic ability to be a game changer on both sides on the ball. Toss in Dexter Strickland coming back from injury with the solid recruiting class they have coming in and this could be a team that most experts would pick to go undefeated.
I have always been torn between a player leaving college early to go to the NBA and staying to finish their collegiate career. A player like Harrison Barnes could very well end up as a lottery pick meaning big bucks for the young man. In this case I believe Barnes should stay. Not only could he help the Tar Heels steam-roll the competition in a magical season, he could improve his defense and ball handling skills, two areas he really needs work in. Leading UNC to a national title and improvement on both sides of the ball would put Harrison as a top 3 pick next year.
As a Duke fan it would be frustrating to see another stacked Carolina team give my Blue Devils fits during their games against each other, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this group of Carolina players are good for college basketball, and when they are all healthy and on top of their game, there is no better team. All of the college basketball fans out there deserve to see what this could can do next year.
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