Senior Writer

Top wings: Newcomer Barnes No. 1 on this list, too


The scrimmage was over, the festivities complete. So Shirley Barnes stood with the rest of the friends and family and patiently waited for her son to appear from the locker room late Friday like all the other North Carolina players were doing, one after another.

But Harrison Barnes never showed.

His mother grabbed freshman Kendall Marshall and asked what was up.

"[Marshall] said with a smirk, 'Oh, Harrison didn't think he shot well,'" Shirley Barnes told me this week. "So after they dismissed, he asked for a ball and headed to the practice gym to shoot."

Harrison Barnes was 6 of 10 from the field in that scrimmage, by the way. That means he made 60 percent of his shots and still felt like he needed a late-night shooting session, which should help explain why this 6-foot-8 freshman is a can't-miss prospect. Like I said when I named him the Preseason National Player of the Year, Barnes has a work ethic to match his skill set. He tops's list of the nation's top wings.

(Don't forget to read the explanation for these rankings in the blog.)

1. Harrison Barnes (North Carolina)
I got an email from a reader complaining about my naming Barnes the Preseason National POY. The guy said he agreed Barnes was a unique talent, but argued he'd only be good this season before being great in "Year 2." My response: "Year 2 will be played in the NBA."
2. Kyle Singler (Duke)
Singler is the ACC's official preseason Player of the Year, and I understand why. He averaged 17.7 points and 7 rebounds last season while leading the Blue Devils to the national title, and he just might do it all again this season. In other words, no complaint here. I went with Barnes because I think he's going to be terrific. But Singler is a perfectly reasonable -- and a heck of a lot safer -- pick.
3. E'Twaun Moore (Purdue)
Moore is consistently overlooked despite his consistently good statistics, as I detailed in a column this summer. I hate that he won't be able to play one more year with Robbie Hummel. But I love that he withdrew from the NBA Draft to play one more year in college, either way.
4. William Buford (Ohio State)
An inside-outside duo of Buford and Jared Sullinger gives Thad Matta two great weapons. I'm still concerned about who will handle most of the dribbling in Evan Turner's absence, but that doesn't make Buford -- who averaged 14.4 points and 5.6 rebounds last season -- any less talented.
5. Austin Freeman (Georgetown)
Austin Freeman was voted the Big East's Player of the Year this week, which says more about the Big East than Freeman. He's good (as his spot on this list shows), but the Big East is down if Freeman is the league's best player.
6. Will Barton (Memphis)
The expectations at Memphis increased greatly when the NCAA cleared Barton for freshman eligibility. He's not as popular in the city as Joe Jackson, mostly because Jackson is a local. But the guess here is that Barton will be the Tigers' best player and the eventual C-USA Player of the Year.
7. Durrell Summers (Michigan State)
Summers averaged 18.8 points per game in last season's NCAA tournament and was consistently great for one of the few times in his career. If he plays like that this season, this ranking is too low. If not, it's too high.
8. Kris Joseph (Syracuse)
Joseph proved last season that he could be a great role player behind Wesley Johnson. But now Johnson is gone, and Joseph must blossom into a star for the Orange to remain near the top of the Big East. I suspect he will (and that they will, too).
9. Chandler Parsons (Florida)
Parsons has grown to be a 6-foot-10 shooter, which makes him a legitimate NBA prospect. But for now he's the guy who averaged 12.4 points and 6.9 rebounds last season, the guy who could lead Florida to an SEC championship.
10. Kim English (Missouri)
That the Tigers will be in every preseason poll should allow English to get the stage he deserves. He averaged 14 points per game last season, and he should be even better this season, just like Missouri in general.
The next 30
11. Kawhi Leonard (San Diego St.) 21. Jeremy Hazell (Seton Hall) 31. Jimmy Butler (Marquette)
12. Scotty Hopson (Tennessee) 22. Steven Gray (Gonzaga) 32. Corey Stokes (Villanova)
13. Chris Singleton (Florida St.) 23. Cory Higgins (Colorado) 33. Jordan Hamilton (Texas)
14. Chris Wright (Dayton) 24. Wesley Witherspoon (Memphis) 34. John Jenkins (Vanderbilt)
15. Alec Burks (Colorado) 25. D.J. Richardson (Illinois) 35. Ravern Johnson (Mississippi St.)
16. Tre'Von Willis (UNLV) 26. David Lighty (Ohio St.) 36. Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech)
17. Travis Leslie (Georgia) 27. Ty Abbott (Arizona St.) 37. D.J. Kennedy (St. John's)
18. Maurice Creek (Indiana) 28. Klay Thompson (Washington St.) 38. Mike Singletary (Texas Tech)
19. Draymond Green (Michigan St.) 29. Jon Diebler (Ohio St.) 39. Verdell Jones (Indiana)
20. Jeff Taylor (Vanderbilt) 30. Malcolm Lee (UCLA) 40. Tyler Honeycutt (UCLA)
2010-11 Season Preview/Conference Countdown Schedule
Fri., Oct. 15Preseason Top 25 (and one) Fri., Oct. 29Conference No. 6: Pac-10
Mon., Oct. 18Preseason All-Americans Mon., Nov. 1Conference No. 5: SEC
Wed., Oct. 20Player rankings: Points/Combos Tues., Nov. 2Conference No. 4: ACC
Thurs., Oct. 21Player rankings: Wings Wed., Nov. 3Conference No. 3: Big East
Fri., Oct. 22Player rankings: Big men Thurs., Nov. 4Conference No. 2: Big 12
Mon., Oct. 25Coaches on the Hot Seat Fri., Nov. 5Conference No. 1: Big Ten
Wed., Oct. 27Best of the non-BCS Mon., Nov. 8Projections: Parrish | Palm

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.

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