Blog Entry

Barnes' play now matching potential

Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:30 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 10:39 pm
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It was more than four months ago when I named Harrison Barnes the preseason National Player of the Year.

I was wrong.

And no matter how this season ends, I'll still be wrong because the National Player of the Year will be Jimmer Fredette. Or Jared Sullinger. Or Nolan Smith. Could be any of those three ... or even JaJuan Johnson, I guess. But it won't be Harrison Barnes, and I came to terms with that a while ago.

But I hope you now at least see why I did it.

Surely, you now see why I did it.

Barnes buried a 3-pointer in the final seconds Wednesday to give No. 13 North Carolina a 72-70 win over Florida State. It was the latest nice moment for a freshman who's had a bunch recently, another big shot for a kid who is finishing as strong as he started slow. Barnes is averaging 17.9 points and 6.4 rebounds during UNC's past 10 games. Wednesday's clutch shot ensured the Tar Heels will have an opportunity to play for an outright ACC championship against Duke on Saturday. But what I found more impressive than the shot was the idea that led to the shot.

It was a straight isolation play at the top of the key.

NBA-style.

You know how a coach will give the ball to Kobe Bryant or LeBron James late and just tell him to go make a play and win the game? That's basically what Roy Williams did with Barnes. Williams got Barnes the ball at the top and asked him to win the game, and he did. It was the latest bit of evidence that suggests Williams trusts Barnes immensely, and an undeniable sign that Barnes is blossoming into everything he was supposed to be.

Granted, he still won't be National Player of the Year.

But Most Outstanding Player of next week's ACC tournament suddenly seems like a reasonable goal.
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Comments

Since: Jan 28, 2009
Posted on: March 3, 2011 6:31 pm
 

Barnes' play now matching potential

"GARY--  BARNES IS A TERRIFIC TALENT BUT... Comes to Crunch time -- 10-15 seconds left & you NEED a hoop or draw a foul-- I'd still go with Either Preston Knowles, Peyton Siva &/or Kyle Kuric ( biased maybe BUT GLAD WE have 3 guys on same team That Can GET' er DONE !!!"






Who?




Since: Jan 28, 2009
Posted on: March 3, 2011 6:28 pm
 

Barnes' play now matching potential

ok... the loss to Duke was inexperience? OK...Right.  How bout UNC played above their ability and skill level in the first half and then had no legs to hang with Duke in the 2nd.  I think that would be the more accurate statement.



Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: March 3, 2011 4:31 pm
 

Barnes' play now matching potential

...still overrated.



Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: March 3, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Barnes' play now matching potential

Barnes is still not that great...right now he's pretty much a shooter. With his size and athleticism, he should be dominating inside and out. He'd rather stand back and shoot jumpers than take it to the hole like a real man. Not that versatile...



Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2011 3:19 pm
 

Barnes' play now matching potential

Barnes and Henson staying would be great but to be honest, I would be overjoyed if just one would stay. (Zeller is not ready, good but too inconsistent) barnes could go from #7 to #1 next year if he stays, but millions are millions, would YOU turn it down and risk injury? Henson does really need to add another 15-20lbs to get to about 225-230. If he does this he will be a monster, a legit triple double threat every night, no doubt. Henson can rebound, block and run and even the FT's are improving, he just still has a hard time muscling a shot up in traffic sometimes, about the only glaring weakness, and in the NBA, unless you can nail jump shot after jump shot, this will be a BIG problem.



Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2011 11:14 am
 

Barnes' play now matching potential

GARY--  BARNES IS A TERRIFIC TALENT BUT... Comes to Crunch time -- 10-15 seconds left & you NEED a hoop or draw a foul-- I'd still go with Either Preston Knowles, Peyton Siva &/or Kyle Kuric ( biased maybe BUT GLAD WE have 3 guys on same team That Can GET' er DONE !!!



Since: Nov 25, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2011 9:49 am
 

Barnes' play now matching potential

Yes; but he's still not even close to being a player of the year candidate, Gary.  That was a ridiculouse prediction on your part. 



Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: March 3, 2011 9:29 am
 

Barnes' play now matching potential

The great thing is come tourney time lack of depth is not as much of an issue because of the extended media timeouts. They will have more opportunity to rest.

Whether or not this team gets past the sweet 16 or not they have made huge strides over last year and particularly in the past month. 23-6 going into the final regular season of the year is far better than anyone could have hoped when we ended November with a 4-3 record. Now we just have to hope that Barnes and Henson come back next year. Chad Forde has Barnes #7 and Henson #10 in the latest NBA watch. I could see Henson coming back to add muscle. Barnes is the question mark. This entire team could come back and adding Hairston and Mcadoo to this team could/should put us to be the team to beat next year.



Since: Nov 25, 2009
Posted on: March 3, 2011 9:13 am
 

Barnes' play now matching potential

Ha... and to think, I had a couple friends (who are not Carlina fans) calling for Roy's head.  Maybe he was a little too loyal to Larry Drew II, I'm still kind of disappointed he left, despite his inconsistent play.  He had been playing well off the bench but I'm off topic...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... Harrison Barnes could have been a contender for the Naismith PoY if he wouldn't settle for jump shots so often.  Drive to the rim, get fouled... go to the free throw line.  I do like him taking the big shot though, he seems confident enough in that endeavor.




Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2011 8:59 am
 

Barnes' play now matching potential

Since the departure of Larry Drew, Barnes and Henson have been sensational, while Marshall has showed the college basketball world that he has the passing ability and level of court vision that can't be coached.

UNC's only loss since the Georgia Tech fiasco (Drew's last start) was to Duke at Cameron and the major reason for that loss was inexperience that resulted in a complete loss of focus in the opening minutes of the second half.

Even when Strickland has to take over at the point when Marshall needs a rest, he has become a much confident player who has drastically cut down his turnover ration in recent weeks.

Drew was clearly a cancer in the locker room, which has been demonstrated by Carolina's transformation from an underachieving team of disappointing blue chip recruits that was going nowhere to a revitalized group of young players that have a chance to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Additionally, it is obvious that the players are having fun on the court and realize that they are improving as a team every day.
Granted, UNC does not have much depth and doesn't shoot the three very well most nights, but when you consider where the program is compared to a month ago, the difference is like day and night.

Next year's addition of Hairston of McAdoo is going to put this program back at the top of the college basketball food chain, not to mention the fact that this year's team has an opportunity to accomplish some great things in what promises to be possibly the most wide open NCAA tournament ever.



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