Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 1:18 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Harrison Barnes is a veteran at Chris Paul’s Camp.
In fact, this was the 6-foot-8 forward’s third go-around at the event – which features the NBA star point guard and a bunch of college and high school players.
But this time it truly made sense.
North Carolina’s highly touted recruit struggled out of the gates a year ago as a freshman before turning it around in the middle of the season (not coincidentally when Kendall Marshall was inserted into the starting lineup).
One of the areas in which Barnes struggled was putting it on the floor and beating defenders off the dribble.
``I want to work on my ballhandling and what better way than to work with one of the best point guards in the world,” Barnes said from the CP3 Camp. ``Ballhandling a big emphasis for me this offseason.
Barnes, who will also attend the Kevin Durant Skills Camp, also said he has focused on developing a more adept post game – as well as the overall consistency of his shooting.
Barnes’ return, along with that of teammates John Henson and Tyler Zeller, have made the Tar Heels the likely No. 1 team (Kentucky is a close second) entering next season.
Barnes admitted there was plenty of flip-flopping with his decision to return to school.
``There was a lot of going back and forth,” he said. ``But at the end of the day, I’m happy with my decision to stay at UNC and don’t have any second thoughts about it.”
Barnes said the lockout played a part – as did how much he enjoys college. He also said coming so close to the Final Four was a factor.
``That didn’t sit well with me,” Barnes said. ``To work so hard and come so close.”
Posted on: June 9, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2011 4:37 pm
After leading the Elite Youth Basketball League in scoring – with no one even close to him – it’s clear Omar Calhoun will be able to make an immediate impact at the next level.
The 6-foot-5 Calhoun averaged 25.0 points in the 15 EYBL games, including a 38-point performance in April and a 31-point performance in the next-to-last game over Memorial Day weekend.
On Thursday, Calhoun took a surprise visit to Connecticut.
“He just finished,” Omar Calhoun Sr. said. “The visit went well.”
For several months, Calhoun has had a long list of schools under consideration, but that group has been trimmed.
According to his father, the schools Calhoun is focused on are North Carolina, Kentucky, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Villanova, West Virginia, Seton Hall, Maryland and Georgetown.
“Those are the guys we built the best relationship with,” Calhoun Sr. said.
Calhoun, a shooting guard from Christ the King (N.Y.), has taken trips to North Carolina, Pitt, Villanova, Connecticut and Seton Hall.
No schools stand out in particular right now.
“All the schools I listed are on equal playing ground,” Calhoun Sr. said.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 1:30 pm
Posted by Matt Norlander
Don't ever accuse Harrison Barnes of not caring about improving his game. Ever.
One of the elite college players -- who would have easily been a top-five pick in this year's draft -- only wants to get better, and he's going to do it in a different way. Not by changing up his workout routine or spending early hours in the gym. That's typical of any player who desperately and earnestly wants to improve his craft.
But Barnes has a different approach in the coming days. He's attending Chris Paul's CP3 Elite Guard Camp, which begins this weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C. Barnes is a 2/3 hybrid. For a non-point guard to receive such an invitation, it tells you more about Barnes' reputation, his work ethic and what people think of him. This is the third straight season Barnes will attend the camp. Clearly he's getting something out of it, as most have seen how Barnes' game has improved in the past two years.
The UNC sophomore will be joining teammate Kendall Marshall, as well as a number of recognizable point guards from the college ranks: Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine, of Syracuse; Kenny Boynton, of Florida; Seth Curry, of Duke; Jordan Taylor, of Wisconsin; Marcus Denmon, of Missouri; Peyton Siva, of Louisville; Brad Burgess, of VCU; and a few others.
To be fair, Barnes isn't the only outlier. Memphis' Will Barton and Duke's Andre Dawkins will also be in attendance. But they, unlike Barnes, aren't seen as polished, NBA-ready players. If you want a vapid reason to speculate why this might not be so great: Kyle Singler attended the camp last year. His ensuing season didn't live up to the hype.
Talent aside, it's things like this that help the upper echelon players remain at the top of their game and their sport. Barnes could easily go through typical routines this summer and show up in Chapel Hill next season as a preseason All-America.
But he's clearly not wired that way.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 12:22 pm
RALEIGH, N.C. – Not many high school sophomores receive scholarship offers from Kansas, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The ones that do are usually very confident in their abilities to deal with the attention.
Bronson Koenig, though, admits he is struggling with the additional pressures brought on by the early offers from big-name schools.
“I mean, I’m handling it,” Koenig said last week at the Tournament of Champions, minutes from UNC’s Chapel Hill campus. “I’m not very good at it yet. But I’m trying to get better.”
Koenig, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Aquinas (Wisc.), is also looking to get better with his game. Right now, Koenig has the ability to play both guard positions, but is best attribute is his 3-point shooting ability. He has tremendous range and a very nice stroke on his jumper. While Koenig isn’t explosive or extremely quick, he has good ball-handling ability and the swagger to run a team.
“I try to bring leadership and distributing the basketball,” he said. “And score when they need me to score.”
While schools like Virginia are also coming after Koenig, the three he is focused on are Wisconsin, North Carolina and Kansas. The Badgers offered him last June, but he really made headlines when North Carolina offered him in February.
Roy Williams is notorious for waiting until a prospect’s junior year to offer players, but the Tar Heels had been highly-interested in Koenig since watching him nail multiple 3-pointers last summer alongside North Carolina-commit J.P. Tokoto on the Wisconsin Playground Warriors.
“I don’t know how to explain it, but it felt really good,” Koenig said of the early offer.
Kansas joined the fray last month after Koenig and the rest of his AAU team went to Lawrence, Kan. for the Jayhawk Invitational.
The three schools are clearly in front for Koenig, but neither of the three stands out in particular at this point.
“They’re all recruiting me the hardest,” he said. “I like them all the same. I feel comfortable, I like the coaching staffs. I want to go to a program that can go to the NCAA national championship – because I just like to win.”
Clearly, all three schools have very good histories and traditions, but Koenig discussed the specifics of each school that appealed to him.
With North Carolina, Koenig seemed to like everything about the Tar Heels.
“Just the program in general, with McDonald’s All-Americans,” he said. “The coaches, the facilities.”
The hometown Badgers have the local angle.
“I just felt comfortable there,” Koenig said. “Some guys are from Playground [his AAU team].”
Kansas is the most recent to enter his top three, but the Jayhawks are squarely in the mix.
“Me and my parents got to sit down with coach Self,” Koenig said. “I like how he plays ball.”
The comparisons have already begun for Koenig. While he likens himself to former Wisconsin guard Devin Harris, the most common one is Kirk Hinrich, who played under Williams at Kansas.
Not surprisingly, the comparison stems from Williams, who showed tape of Hinrich to Koenig when he checked out the Tar Heels’ campus.
“I see myself as more of a point guard,” Koenig said. “At Wisconsin, they wanted me as a point guard, but Roy Williams said I can play the point guard, 2-guard or 3-guard.”
By the time he is ready to make a college decision, Koenig will undoubtedly be able to handle either guard position – and better deal with the pressures that come from being a big-time recruit.
Photos: Lacrosse Tribune
Posted on: June 6, 2011 9:58 am
RALEIGH, N.C. – He may go by “Baby,” but Kennedy Meeks is a grown man on the basketball court.
Meeks is listed at 6-foot-8 and 260 lbs., and dwarfs most opponents that try to defend him in the paint. He has great hands and knows how to finish at the rim with post moves and a soft touch. Meeks can pass out of a double team, and is also a very solid rebounder. The West Charlotte (N.C.) product is improving all facets of his game.
One of the top centers in the class of 2013, Meeks is receiving tons of college interest.
“Everybody in the ACC besides Duke and Georgia Tech,” Meeks said. “Also, Georgetown, Louisville and North Florida.”
North Florida? “North Florida.”
Meeks said his favorites are Georgetown and Maryland, and he wants to check out the campuses of Maryland and Miami (Fl.) at some point in July.
The exceptional campaigns by Georgetown’s Greg Monroe and Maryland’s Jordan Williams over the last two seasons are part of the reason Meeks is drawn to those two programs – they utilize their post players.
“They feed the big man,” he said. “I want to go to a place where they use their big man.”
Despite his nickname, Meeks certainly fits the profile.Photo: Charlotte Observer
Posted on: June 3, 2011 8:38 am
RALEIGH, N.C. – For such a highly-ranked player, Kuran Iverson gets very little coverage on a consistent basis.
It could be attributed to his lack of appearances on the AAU circuit, the fact he plays for a small school in Connecticut, or simply because you don’t know where and when he will show up.
For example, it was rumored he would play with the Long Island Lightning at the Tournament of Champions. On Friday, he wasn’t there. After a flight delay, Iverson appeared on Saturday to help lead the Lightning to the U-16 championship game.
“I haven’t played ball in awhile,” Iverson said.
The 6-foot-8 small forward from Northwest Catholic (Conn.) has sat out most of the spring period to focus on academics. Now, Iverson said his grades are in good shape.
Also in good shape is Iverson’s game. The rising junior is an absolute matchup nightmare due to his size and skillset. He can handle the ball well and is able to knock down perimeter jumpers. Moreover, he is versatile enough to play around the rim and make passes over the defense. Iverson still seems to be growing, which could hamper his ability to run the floor. With that said, his potential might be as high as anyone in the class of 2013.
The younger cousin of former NBA star Allen Iverson will have his pick when it comes to colleges.
For now, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Kentucky, Syracuse, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech and North Carolina are in the mix.
Although he doesn’t seem anywhere close to a decision, Iverson likes North Carolina and Connecticut.
While on Tobacco Road, Iverson took a trip to Chapel Hill. “I like the team, everybody played hard,” he said of the Tar Heels.
The national champion Huskies are his home state team, but location has nothing to do with why they are high on his list. “I just like Kemba,” Iverson said.
Iverson also mentioned that he wants to visit St. John’s.
With his combination of size, skill and athleticism, Iverson is guaranteed to make an impact at the next level.
If colleges can find him, of course.
Posted on: June 2, 2011 9:52 am
Edited on: June 2, 2011 12:26 pm
RALEIGH, N.C. – Because of a flight delay, the Dwight Howard Warriors did not arrive at Ravenscroft School (N.C.) until nearly 10 p.m. last Friday at the Tournament of Champions. Despite the late tip time, there were still plenty of media and scouts in attendance, with many staying to watch Solomon Poole, one of the top-25 players in the class of 2013.
As the game went on, and Poole continued to miss outside shots, people began to question his ranking. With the clock winding down, though, Poole reminded everyone why he is so highly touted.
Down one to the Charlotte Nets, Poole put up a stepback jumper that splashed through the net as time expired. That one play demonstrated his quickness, strength and scoring ability, and how tough he is to stop when it all comes together.
It might have been enough to make people forget his early struggles.
“I just focused,” Poole said of the way he bounced back. “I knew I had to keep going. I knew my teammates would pick me up.”
Poole, a 6-foot-1 combo guard from Terry Parker (Fla.), is the younger brother of Kentucky’s Stacey Poole and the son of former Florida standout Stacey Poole Sr. The basketball bloodlines are hard to miss when gauging Poole’s natural talent. He is a big-time scorer who finishes tremendously well in traffic and controls his body effectively in the lane. Poole can beat his man off the dribble and is strong enough to pull-up in the mid-range against defenders. While inconsistent from 3-point range, Poole does have range behind the arc.
Because of his size, though, Poole might have to play the one at the next level, and he knows it.
“I need to work on my pace,” he said. “I need to work on changing speeds.”
A long list of schools are courting the talented sophomore. Poole and his AAU coach, Antwain Tennell, rattled off offers from local schools Central Florida and South Florida, as well as Georgia Tech and South Carolina. Providence, North Carolina, Arizona, Memphis, Florida and Oklahoma State are all showing interest.
Decision time is a long way away for Poole, but he knows what he’s looking for in a school.
“First, academics. You can’t get anywhere without that,” Poole said. “And a coach that makes you better. I want him to tell me what I’m doing wrong.”
Based on the way he makes adjustments during the game, though, it seems Poole is getting by just fine on his own.
Posted on: June 1, 2011 3:02 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 3:21 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
The University of North Carolina is setting up the usual tough non-conference schedule for the 2011-12 season. In addition to the November 11 aircraft carrier game against Michigan State and a November 30 matchup with Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten challenge, the Tar Heels will also take part in the 11th annual Las Vegas Invitational. Games will be played in Orleans Arena on November 25 and 26.
The field includes host UNLV, as well as South Carolina of the SEC and Southern Cal from the Pac-12. First-round opponents for the automatic advancers will be Morgan State, Tennessee State, Cal Poly and Mississippi Valley State.
UNC won the event in 2007.
Photo: US Presswire