Duke, UNC battle for top recruit as Krzyzewski, Williams visit on same day
Posted October 6, 2009
Duke and North Carolina took their rivalry to a critical spot in Iowa Monday as both Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams visited top basketball prospect Harrison Barnes on the same day in Ames, Iowa.
Monday was the last day of the contact period before the fall signing period begins November.
Barnes,a 6-foot-8 senior forward rated the No. 1 prospect in the country by Scout.com, had scheduled a home visit with Krzyzewski for Monday.
But as InsideCarolina first reported, Williams had a second in-home visit with Barnes in Ames shortly after Krzyzewski's only scheduled in-home.
The Devil's Den, a website that closely tracks Duke recruiting, reported that Krzyzewski, Nate James and Steve Wojciechowski were at the house for 3 and a half hours and UNC was there for about 90 minutes.
Barnes’ high school coach, Vance Downs, confirmed to WRAL Tuesday that both coaches were at Barnes’ house on Monday. He said Barnes told him that Tuesday morning at school.
Downs said Barnes’ final list of six schools is UNC, Duke, UCLA, Iowa State, Kansas and Oklahoma. He said he expects Barnes to make a decision by the November signing period.
“I’m telling you, he’s something special. You’re talking about a kid who’s still growing,” Downs said. “He can score from all three levels. He’s got ball-handling skills. He can play with any kid in the nation, no doubt about it.”
Downs said he knew Krzyzewski was coming but didn’t know Williams would also be there until Barnes told him Tuesday morning.
“I’m learning to expect the unexpected in this recruiting world,” he said.
Monday’s developments heighten what has been a ferocious contest between Duke and UNC. Barnes was widely believed to be leaning to the Blue Devils before he attended the Carolina alumni game in September. That sparked more interest in the Tar Heels, and set in motion what could be one of the more intense recruiting battles between the two schools.
Duke won some significant ones in the past, including Art Heyman, Danny Ferry and Shane Battier. But Carolina won Larry Miller and Brandan Wright.
Despite their proximity, the schools often go after different players. The year Carolina signed Tyler Hansbrough, for example, Duke signed Josh McRoberts, who was rated higher at the time by some scouts.