Roy Williams on Harrison Barnes
Barnes
Barnes
Inside Carolina
Posted Nov 14, 2009


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- One day after landing the nation's top-rated basketball prospect, UNC head coach Roy Williams met with the media during halftime of Saturday's football game against Miami to discuss Harrison Barnes' recruitment and the potential impact of the Ames, Iowa product.

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ROY WILLIAMS
Listen to Audio (11:12)

You ever used Skype before?

"Yeah. Our son was in London so we did it three or four times while he was over there just to talk to him. I didn't do much but stand there. Wanda and Scott did all the work and I just stood there and talked."

So who set it up for you yesterday?

"Eric Hoots and Steve Robinson."

Do you consider yourself an expert now?

"No, I can sit there and talk but if you expect me to sit there and talk, there's no way I can do that."

Harrison thanked your players in his announcement - how instrumental were they in the process?

"I think they're the biggest part of it, I really do. You've got to say our tradition, our history, our education and all that, but once you get past that I think our players did a great job. He was here twice, he played pickup with the guys, he saw what kind of kids we have. He knows Kendall Marshall and Reggie Bullock well and they were all here when he had his official visit so he's gotten to know those guys. But I think the quality of kids we have on campus helps in every recruit and I really think Harrison was looking for that kind of thing when he made his decision."

What impresses you the most about Harrison?

"You have to say everything. He's a great student, a big time player, he's very focused, he has a tremendous amount of self discipline, he's very talented. He's got a pretty good package to say the least."

Did you have any idea he was going to choose you or was it a surprise?

"I said up until the very end I would not have been surprised with any of the six choices - and I really wouldn't have been. We worked extremely hard and we've got a great product to promote, there's no question about that. I'd like to think we're always going to try and outwork anybody else, but I would not have been surprised. He said some things along the way that made me feel pretty good, but I've been sitting there a lot of times where someone has made me feel pretty good and have gone somewhere else."

Were you nervous on Friday?

"I wasn't nervous. It's a big thing, but I was waiting to get back out there on the practice court. I don't think I'd ever describe it as nervous. You get the excitement when he says your school, but we tried to time it so we'd finish the drill, and we took the whole team in there and watched the thing."

When did you find out he was coming?

"When he said it. The same time everybody else did. You have a good feeling when they start talking about Skype and setting it up, but they could have been doing it for every school, too. When he said I'm going to go over and Skype the coach and when his face showed up on our computer, that was a pretty good feeling."

Was this announcement on Skype a sign of the times in recruiting?

"It depends. Each young man has a chance to do things his own way. Kendall and Reggie just made an announcement that they were coming. This one got so much attention, and deservedly so. It got so much attention, and being the third day of the signing period got it more attention. He's a unique young man, a unique family. As I told him last night: I make the statement of some things that 'I wish they would have an original idea' - well the Barnes family has a lot of original ideas."

Did being told to be on Skype make you think it meant something positive?

"We didn't know if everyone was going to be on there or not, I'm being truthful ... The family asked us to set it up, but we didn't know if they were doing that for everybody else or not."

Describe Barnes' strengths as a player and the potential you see in him that made you want him so much?

"He's a tremendous scorer, he's a tremendous basketball player - he knows how to play. He's maybe 6-8 and he's a perimeter player; he can really shoot, puts the ball on the floor. He's got the total package."

Do you allow yourself to think about this recruiting class and the future or do you have to put that aside until next year?

"There is some excitement there, but yesterday it was 'Alright guys, this is great, let's hustle back onto the court.' And then Deon thought we were going to call practice off. There's no practice it was a wonderful feeling last night, but it wouldn't have been as wonderful if we hadn't had a good practice to go along with it. But he's a tremendous young man, he's got tremendous character, who also happens to be a very, very good basketball player."

Can you tell us the story of when you want to see him right after winning the national championship?

"We won it on Monday ... Thursday you couldn't see anybody until 12-o-clock. I'm looking at my watch and the coach is standing at the school, opening the door and motioning me and I'm saying no since I couldn't see anybody until 12 noon."

Did you see Barnes' official visit to UNC as the turning point in his recruitment?

"That's up to him. We did a lot of good things, but so did everybody else. His visit to UCLA was a sensational visit - go see what he said about that. But everybody should have a good visit. It's what we do. We're not going to bring one of the best players in America in and him have a bad time. But he did have a very good visit. He's the kind of kid that's easy to visit with, easy to make plans. So I don't know that I'd say that was the turning point. He came down before as well for an unofficial. I just think it was the body of work - it was about 16 months - as hard as you can possibly work."

Can you think of any recruit you spent more time and work on?

"I told him that I recruited him harder than any player I ever coached. I always thought Raef Lafrentz was the one I spent the most time on until this one."

The Iowa guys ...

"I've been awfully lucky in that state. I've had Raef Lafrentz, Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich and now Harrison. Several years ago Sports Illustrated did the deal of each state and Roy Williams was the second-most hated because we'd gotten three guys from there."

Is there any extra impact of this decision because Duke was so heavily involved in this recruitment as well?

"Duke's going to get good players. I don't worry about Duke and I'm sure they don't worry about us. They are hard to recruit against because they are so good. Kansas is really good and they have things going and he was at Kansas last year for Late Night when they brought the banner down for the championship from the year before. And this year he was back there on Late Night. And UCLA ... they're all really good schools. You just want him to say your name, your school and who you beat doesn't make a difference."

"It's certainly a really, really, really good class with quality kids. If you look at it, too, we're saying we have two areas of concern this year: a true point guard, because Larry is the only one in our program so we're adding a true point guard ... and we say outside shooting, and Reggie and Harrison can really shoot the basketball, so those things are going to be really good things for our program."

It appeared that Harrison handled this recruitment in a very professional, mature manner ...

"He's really a bright, bright youngster. Their family is very creative. They think about things, they didn't assume anything in this recruiting process. They tried to investigate as much as they possibly could. They left nothing to chance. They spent a lot of time and a lot of work on it. He's a classy youngster who is going to try and do things the right way, and you have to think of the intelligence and the way they handled the whole thing."



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