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Monday, April 18th, 2011 at 2:09 pm  |  25 responses

Harrison Barnes Returning for Sophomore Year

by David Cassilo / @dcassilo

When Harrison Barnes was named a preseason All-American last fall, the furthest thought from anyone’s mind was that he would spend more than one season in Chapel Hill. However, the surefire lottery pick announced his intentions on Monday to return to North Carolina for his sophomore season.

The word “bust” was whispered around Barnes early into freshman season when he failed to score in double-figures in six of his first 15 games with North Carolina. Down the stretch, though, Barnes became the go-to-guy for Roy Williams’ team. He scored at least 18 points in nine of his final 10 games, including a 40-point performance against Clemson in the semifinals of the ACC tournament.

Barnes’ return has North Carolina pegged as an early favorite for the 2012 NCAA title.

From the Charlotte Observer:

“As a team, we’re preparing for a special season. My off-season 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,” Barnes said.

Barnes joins fellow returning starters, John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Dexter Strickland and Kendall Marshall, as well as top recruits P.J. Hairston and James McAdoo, the MVP of both the McDonald’s All-American game and the Jordan Classic.

His return also further weakens a draft class that has already seen Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones announce that they were returning for their sophomore seasons.

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  • http://nobulljive.com Enigmatic

    UNC are gonna be DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.
    Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Kendall Marshall, Dexter Strickland, PJ Hairston AND James McAdoo?
    DAY-UM!

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Noooooooo. Now it really is just a 2 person draft.

  • http://nobulljive.com Enigmatic

    I think Brandon Knight has a chance to be better than Kyrie Irving.
    Just saying.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Mars

    YEA, dUKIES, TARHEELS, AND KFC. sTART YOUR BIDDING. nEXT YEARS DRAFT IS GONNA BE BANANAS.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Thanks, Dave. College hoops is gonna be pretty sick next year, and 2012 Draft is shaping up as a MONSTER.

  • JTaylor21

    Enigmatic, care to explain or is that asking too much?

  • dsleepy

    this article is a litte late. i saw this on espn last week

  • http://nobulljive.com Enigmatic

    Knight’s got great size, good speed, good athleticism, solid defender, he’s pretty clutch as well.
    I mean, Irving isn’t THAT much better than Knight, it’s not like Irving is the next Chris Paul or anything.
    And Irving’s coming off an injury so durablity is a question.
    I don’t see why Knight couldn’t end up becoming the better pro.

  • el_larsen

    good move by the clips to trade their draftpick to the cavs!
    AND next year they ll have the timberwolves pick unprotected.man if they can sign tayshaun prince, or an elite SF,this offseason they ll be title contender soon

  • greg

    who the hell are the raps gonna draft now, we can only end up with irving kanter barnes knight or williams… smh we picked a bad year to suckmore than usual

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    dsleepy: Barnes was still contemplating last week. News broke out today that he was officially staying.
    Enigmatic: If the Raptors don’t get top 2. I hope they can get Knight. Definitely good size for a PG. Especially nowadays.

  • http://nobulljive.com Enigmatic

    LOL, greg, take Barnes out of there.
    If the Raps fall out of the top 3 they need to take a long look at Enes Kanter, especially if they can get rid of Andrea what’s his name.
    Also Knight was more highly rated in HS than Irving was pretty much up until their senior year, and even then they were both top 10.

  • el_larsen

    who ‘ll dare to draft josh selby?

  • el_larsen

    Don’ t forget kentucky!! they ve got the nb 1 anthony davis,michael gilchrist,marquis teague,and kyle wiltjer(i won’t lie don’t know about him!)

  • greg

    i can guarantee you if they cant have barnes they will go after dontas whatever his name is or jan vesley they are just so dumb like that

  • add

    dam i’m surprised, less one and dones than i thought

  • HAMMER

    YES!! Exactly what i was hoping 4. As the Beatnuts would say, “Watch out now”. Sorry dukies. Haha!

  • Patrick

    Wow. 2011 draft getting shallower than a kiddie pool. International players are going to make a killing in the first round.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The NUPE

    I’m surprised he didn’t come out when is draft stock is so high. There’s a good chance he’ll end up losing a ton of money as next years draft will be much deeper and he may be the second best player on his team next year when McAdoo comes. I’m sure UNC fans are happy because when all your starters come back along with a couple highly touted youngsters (who likely could be 1 and done themseleves), they will be a favorite to win it all next year.

  • jufu

    oh no.

  • Wendell

    With all the projected high picks staying in college, does that mean they’re hearing lockout this year?

  • Squall Lee

    UNC is going to be SERIOUS next year.

  • fauzi

    i think so but it is still a risk playing another year since they are projected so high…hope their gamble pay off

  • dsleepy

    apologies. i withdraw my previous comment.

  • http://www.slamonline.com c_cantrell

    Although im all for young college players staying in college to hone their skills and strengthen their chances of becomeing all time greats (see Tim Duncan), Im not liking this idea of Barnes staying in college. A player like Barnes needs to strike when the iron is hot and like THE NUPE said, he might not even be the best player on his team next year. His draft stock will almost certainly go down, or maybe he can hone his skills and leadership ability over very good players coming to UNC next season. It will be good to UNC doing work and making a deep run in the NCAA tourney again. Staying another year may also drop him several slots in the draft, which in turn could give him a better chance of getting picked by a better team. So if ya really observe it, this is a win-win situation.

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