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Ken Medlin

Light blue deja vu?

Posted April 18, 2011

Harrison Barnes' decision to return for his sophomore season at UNC brings forth the inevitable comparisons.

Yes, this does feel a lot like the spring of 2008.

That spring, a trio of key Carolina players decided to spurn a chance to leave for the NBA. It was Lawson/Ellington/Hansbrough (and Green, too) in '08, now it's Barnes/Henson/Zeller in '11.

One key difference is that none of the 2008 players had a chance to go as high as Barnes likely would have in the NB A draft. Most projections placed Barnes in the top five -- or top three -- in the draft. Yet, "The Black Falcon" chose to circle around Chapel Hill for another year, as opposed to say, Cleveland.

Barnes was not the only high-profile player choosing to stay in school -- Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Baylor's Perry Jones are two examples -- but it still seems they're the exceptions rather than the rule. I'm sure the chance of a lockout played a part in their decisions, but each are individuals.

As for Carolina, the Tar Heels will be loaded next season. They're adding a top recruiting class to an Elite Eight team. It's hard to imagine a player of James McAdoo's caliber coming off the bench, but that's exactly what I expect to happen.

Roy Williams' squad will likely be the odds-on favorite to win it all next season, although folks in Lexington and Columbus might have other ideas.

Being the odds-on favorite doesn't put a championship banner in the rafters. Duke found that out this season, and Carolina has learned that lesson in years past. Luck is a key component to any title team.

But it worked for Carolina in 2005 and 2009, could this be deja vu? Next season will be quite the high-flying spectacle.

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  • Gunnstigator Apr 22, 8:57 a.m.

    It is great news, indeed, that Barnes has decided to return for his sophomore season. As a Heels fan, I can only hope that having the trio of Barnes/Zeller/Henson, along with Marshall and the fab freshmen that will be joining them will bring a third NC for Roy and Carolina. Having all that talent is no guarantee of Carolina cutting down the nets in 2012, but it sure is a good start.

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