While I do feel sorry for our mortal enemies (it is horrible losing a chance at a championship to an injury), I can't say that this article didn't provide me with some childish satisfaction. http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/...lina-tar-heels
Thwack.It's easy to blame all this weird, precocious ugliness as well as Barnes's basketball troubles on the "fast-paced media," high school recruiting, and big-time college athletics, but the somewhat liberating truth is that Harrison Barnes just wasn't a great basketball player. He was good, sure, and shot the ball with a confidence that went far beyond his youth, but he never really developed any other part of his game....
Who but Barnes would give an interview to The Atlantic? What other basketball phenom would think himself into a pretzel and decide that the best way to promote Harrison Barnes, the brand, would be to talk about Harrison Barnes, the brand?
"It's not entirely fair to judge Barnes in two games without his point guard, but it's particularly damning that a lottery-bound perimeter scorer couldn't create his own shot against the mighty Ohio Bobcats. On Sunday, in the biggest game of his career, Barnes missed his last six shots and looked lost when the game was on the line."
He seems like a very intelligent young man when he is interviewed. Knowing who he signed with, I wonder if he was given any suggestions or advice on how to announce his final choice. I believe he me with another HC later that evening after Coach K left his home.
Another great read from Grantland. One thing that the author does not mention, but complements his argument, is that a big factor in Barnes' decision to go to Carolina was do to his desire to "build his brand". I remember during the recruitment process that Barnes made a big deal out of the fact that UNC had a business and marketing major, while Duke does not. And then there's the whole Jordan thing, the brand of all brands. To be honest, if my #1 priority was to become a global icon, I'd probably pick Carolina over Duke too.
Yet, as the article points out, brands need to be supported by a quality product and Barnes has struggled to back up the hype. In some alternate universe, it wouldn't surprise me if Barnes actually would have been more successful as a player -- and ultimately as a brand -- had he gone to Duke. Think about it -- at Duke his freshman year he would not have been required to be "the man" right away and might not have had his confidence crushed at a critical stage. He would have picked up some toughness banging away with Singler in practice and might have learned from Nolan how to endear oneself to a fanbase. Undoubtedly, Coach K would have improved Barnes' defense and have given him a stern talking to when his level of effort wasn't there. I could be wrong, but I always got the impression that Roy could be soft with Barnes at times.
All that is to say that I think Barnes could have been a much more improved basketball player after two years at Duke than Carolina. Kind of ironic isn't it?
Another telling quote from footnote 1 in the article
Barnes reached his ceiling in high school due to his polished game. However, I think the author is spot on that he improved relatively little while at UNC. You could even make a case that he regressed somewhat in terms of his confidence, especially in late game situations."Here's the other problem, particularly for whatever NBA team drafts Barnes. It's possible that the reason why he didn't improve is that there just isn't much ceiling left. Barnes has no first step, he doesn't have a particularly great feel for the game, especially in the half court, and he doesn't play much defense. I guess he's technically a good rebounder for his size, but he's rarely showed sustained effort on the boards."
Putting aside the media expectations prior to his arrival at UNC (partly his fault, partly the fault of the typically hyperventilating media), Barnes went from tentative, unsure freshman to a very good freshman, then to an All-ACC caliber sophomore. A lot of that is due to Marshall (as evidenced by his regression without Marshall in the lineup). But a lot of that improvement may also be due to Barnes, himself, improving as a player.
What's Barnes' ceiling? Well, the guy does have good athletics, a good jumper. He needs to work on his mid-range game, his handle, and his defense. He may not be (he almost certainly is not) another Jordan or Bryant...but he could very well be another Ray Allen.
Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."
This year, at age 36, Allen is shooting 45.9% from 3-pt and 92.1% from the free throw line.
He's a career 40% 3-pt shooter from the NBA 3-point line despite plenty of defensive attention to guard against just that skill.
Harrison Barnes, by contrast, shot 35.8% from 3-pt range this year, and was a 72.3% foul shooter.
Despite some cold shooting in recent games by Duke's outside threats, the following season totals from 3-pt range are all better than Barnes:
Austin Rivers 36.5%
Seth Curry 38.3%
Ryan Kelly 40.8%
Andre Dawkins 39.2%
I'm thinking Barnes is a Sean Elliott type pro at best, which isn't bad, but won't get him on the Wheaties box.
Last edited by roywhite; 03-26-2012 at 05:52 PM.
I don't know anything about Grantland, but the article contained a barely disguised nasty, mean-spiritedness. While we can all criticize either Harrison's Barnes' method of announcing that he was going to UNC and/or his game, he is a young man of apparent character and I would never want to see any player -- playing for us or UNC -- given that kind of backhanded compliment treatment. Even if elements of the article ring true, somehow reading it made me feel like the proverbial expression -- lie down with dogs and get up with fleas. Yuck.
These are kids and though I have no qualms attacking the UNC fan base, I am hesitant to say bad things about the players themselves. Kids don't deserve that. The truth is I could never shoot the rock as well as the last kid on the bench at Carolina. I am sickened by the typical anti-Duke Carolina fan who not only says mean spirited things about Duke's players and coaches, but often says things about our student body as a whole that make me cringe.
Like I wrote yesterday. You can start calling him Brand X. An inferior product you compare to better products.
I don't know how to say this exactly without sounding biased, but would things have been different for Barnes had he chosen Duke?
He came to Carolina after they had just a miserable season. From the start the expectations were high on him turning UNC back into a top 10 caliber to right away. His personality on the court to me seems way too passive, and I think maybe this situation was too much for him too soon.
I know his concern with Duke might have been the potential for Singler to return and Carolina was still coming off the high of a championship season, but is it that outrageous to think Barnes picked the wrong school?
Had he went to Duke he would've been apart a line-up of likely 5 NBA players, while playing with a budding super-star (albeit when healthy) Kyrie Irving. Just throwing it out there...
2009-2010 can't come soon enough.
I do completely agree with your comments about bringing student bodies into a rivalry that is supposed to be about sports.
I asked yesterday if it was too early to start talking about Barnes's legacy, which would be that he was good but not great and certainly not worth all the hype. After this article, there's not much left to say except that I would feel sorry for the kid if he weren't going to end up a multimillionaire no matter what.
On the other hand, a bit of Duke perspective may be in order. When Barnes went to the dark side, some people seemed to think that Duke basketball was a thing of the past. We couldn't compete with ol' Roy, even with a guy who had Duke written all over him as Barnes supposedly did. A preseason magazine had Coach K on the canvas, Sonny Liston style, and a so-called expert said in the accompanying articled that Duke would never be a top flight program as long as Coach K remained in charge. Not to mention all the people who said he was wasting too much time with USA basketball.
Needless to say, our horrible recruiting still got Kyrie, who was far superior to the Black Pigeon, who was supposed to be the best freshman in the country but wasn't even the best in the Triangle. We won in 2010 and were the best team in the country in 2011 until Kyrie got hurt. Duke never came together in 2012, but we have a lot of guys coming back and better days are ahead. And that's whether or not we get Shabazz Muhammad, Tony Parker, or Amile Jefferson.