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.