Harrison Barnes Returning To UNC For Sophomore Season, Tar Heels Frighteningly Loaded
Glenn Davis 11:15 am, April 18th, 2011
When North Carolina's excellent tandem of big men, John Henson and Tyler Zeller, announced earlier this month they'd each return to school next year, it left UNC, an Elite Eight participant this season, looking awfully formidable for 2011-12. With those two coming back plus point guard Kendall Marshall, it was entirely reasonable to expect the tar Heels to be among the nation's best next year.
The main question remaining: what about Harrison Barnes? The freshman struggled early last season, but came into his own later, playing like the top recruit he was and working himself into prime NBA Draft position. No one could blame him for turning pro, especially in a weak draft class that could result in him being picked even higher than he might be most years.
"As an 18-year old, I'm in the early stages of my life journey.
Opportunities, both beneficial and life changing, can seem to make the next phase of my journey an easy decision. But I am a student-athlete at the University of North Carolina. I'm here to experience college life, grow as a person, receive a quality education, and be part of the greatest basketball family in college sports.
The experiences I've enjoyed on and off the court will be invaluable. These experiences will help fuel my journey in the NBA and beyond."
From the sound of this statement, Barnes will dedicate 15 hours per day during his sophomore season to pure thinking. But for the time he's on the court...wow, North Carolina is going to be talented. Here are UNC's team statistics from last season - notice how all the players at the top will be back. Justin Knox and Larry Drew are gone, but...that's about it.
Oh, and to all that returning talent, you can add a tremendous recruiting class. We'd imagine that at the moment, UNC coach Roy Williams is doing some combination of salivating at the team he's got coming back, and working himself into a nervous breakdown - because with Barnes, the Tar Heels are officially a "title or bust" team. All in all, though...there are worse problems for a coach to have.