Barnes to UNC

Special to IC
Posted Nov 13, 2009


AMES, Iowa --- The nation's No. 1 high school basketball player is headed to North Carolina.

The stage was set.

With the pep band, cheerleaders and entire Ames (Iowa) High student body looking on, Harrison Barnes, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound senior small forward, ended his highly publicized recruitment by placing a video conference call to the winning coach.

"Coach Roy Williams?" Barnes asked, as Williams, surrounded by his North Carolina team, appeared on the video screen.

Williams responded, "Can you hear us? We've got the whole team here."

"I can see that," Barnes replied with a laugh.

"Coach, I know that you're in practice right now and I need to go sign my letter of intent but I just wanted to let you know that I'll be joining you guys on the squad and I can't wait to play with you guys," Barnes responded.

"All right!" Williams said.

Barnes then sat down and signed his letter of intent, bringing an end to a drama-filled, closely followed recruitment that included a number of the nation’s finest programs – Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Oklahoma and Iowa State.

After taking official visits to five of the schools and an unofficial trip to the hometown school – Iowa State – Barnes set his press conference date last week.

"I have loved getting to know the players and coaching staff at North Carolina," Barnes said during the press conference. "I'm so privileged to be able to go play for Coach Williams. I think he's a great teacher of the game. More than that I like the academic plan they had for me."

Barnes is the type of rare prospect that many -- including Scout.com’s National Recruiting Director Dave Telep – believe has the talent to impact a championship caliber team his freshman season.

“I think he can make an impact for a team looking to win the whole thing,” Telep said. “He sharpens everyone’s mental focus, ramps up the intensity and creates high expectations for himself and the program.”

As a freshman, not many would have predicted this.

At that time, Barnes was a 6-foot-3, 14-year-old basketball player playing for a small town school. Barnes was unranked, unknown and undeveloped. But slowly that changed.

“I’d be lying if I said I knew [he would be this good], Ames High basketball coach Vance Downs said. “We just knew that he was really good. At an early age we knew that he wasn’t going to have to pay for his college education, but did we know that he was the best player in the nation? No. I’d be lying if I said I knew that.”

So how’d he get there? Well, a growth spurt helped, but it was his gym rat nature that led to his jump to the top spot in Scout.com’s rankings.

“He’s passionate about working hard and he’s coachable,” Down added. “He’s got a work ethic second to none. He’s such a polite young man and so appropriate at all times, but when it comes to game time it’s like a switch turns on. He’s as competitive as any kid I’ve ever been around."

Watch the announcement ...



Related Stories
A Day With Harrison Barnes
 -by InsideCarolina.com  Nov 13, 2009
Race to 2000: Kentucky 1989 UNC 1986
 -by AllWildcats.com   Nov 14, 2009
Roy Williams on Harrison Barnes
 -by InsideCarolina.com  Nov 14, 2009

Inside Carolina's Official Online Store:
johnnytshirt.com


Get the Inside Carolina Magazine!
THIS MONTH

April
The glossy, monthly magazine includes top-notch features, analysis and fantastic photos.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON THE IC MAG
NEXT MONTH

Spring

MAGAZINE COVERAGE
Subscribe today to the Inside Carolina Magazine, our glossy monthly publication covering Tar Heel sports!
Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from InsideCarolina.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Basketball > North Carolina
[View My HotList]