Top prospect Barnes picks North Carolina
Posted November 13, 2009
The wins just keep on coming for North Carolina.
The defending national champions scored a major coup off the court Friday when high school senior Harrison Barnes announced he will play for the Tar Heels.
Barnes, ranked the No. 1 prospect in the country by recruiting site Scout.com, made the announcement at the gymnasium at Ames High School in Iowa. Barnes is a 6-foot-6, 190-pound forward and a strong student.
His final six schools were Duke, Carolina, UCLA, Kansas, Iowa State and Oklahoma.
Barnes had been coveted by Duke, and the two long-time rivals locked in a fierce struggle for his services. Carolina got a huge boost when Barnes attended its dazzling alumni game in September. Watching Michael Jordan and other Tar Heel greats return to Chapel Hill made an impression, as did a last-second effort by Coach Roy Williams, who swooped in to visit Barnes on the same night as Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Barnes will join a UNC recruiting class that already includes 6-6 shooting guard Reggie Bullock of Kinston and 6-3 point guard Kendall Marshall of Arlington, Va. Both are rated five-star recruits by Scout.com.
Bullock is rated the No. 11 player in the country and Marshall is No. 21, according to the Scout.com rankings.
Barnes made his announcement in dramatic fashion, going to the podium as the crowd waited and saying he would call the coach he was choosing. He used the Skype technology to make a video call, and as the crowd waited, Barnes said, "Coach Roy Williams?"
"Coach Roy Williams?" Barnes asked, as Williams, surrounded by his North Carolina team, appeared on the video screen.
"Can you hear us? We've got the whole team here," Williams said.
"I can see that," Barnes said "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."
"All right!" Williams said.
Barnes said he wanted to do the announcement in an unusual way.
"We wanted to do something big because we thought this would be special," Barnes said.
Barnes' decision was a tight secret, with few leaks about where he would go. Barnes said he called all the coaches Thursday night to thank them for recruiting him but did not tell them where he was going.