But there is another interesting part of the article which shows what a difference a year makes:
"All five starters are back, plus they will have a healthy Reggie Bullock and add one of the top freshman in the nation, forward James McAdoo.
But Barnes is the difference maker. At least he was down the stretch last season, putting up 40 points against Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and averaging 21 points per game in the NCAA tournament — a run that ended with a close loss to Kentucky in the Elite Eight."
It's really interesting that he's crafted this image of "cerebral player" and superstar when neither really seems applicable. He hasn't really developed his game (he was the same player last year once Marshall took over). He doesn't seem to make smart player plays, he isn't some academic phenom like Zeller, and he hasn't developed into a great closer.
Someone wrote that it is strange that he seems so obsessed with creating a legacy rather than becoming a great basketball player. Jordan had no legacy until he dominated. Same for Kobe. Very few players get legacies/brands without some cache behind it, and right now Barnes' cache is that he was a highly-touted recruit who talked about himself in a long-term perspective (which made him seem mature and wise).
Since Marshall took over the point, Harrison Barnes has been a 1st Team/2nd Team All-ACC caliber player. Prior to that, Barnes struggled. Had Marshall been the PG from the get-go, I have little doubt that Barnes would have been at least 2nd Team All-ACC as a freshman (probably 1st Team).
I'd be just fine if Marshall and Henson left and Barnes and McAdoo returned. UNC would be a lot less scary to me in that situation, because it would put a lot of pressure on those two guys (and Strickland and McDonald) to realize their potential.
Even if it strengthens one of our opponents/rivals, I tend to think about this question based on how much I enjoy seeing really good college basketball players play the game at the college level. For example, even though I knew it was going to make life miserable for Duke twice a year, I was thrilled when Tim Duncan stayed at Wake for 4 years. I got to see him play in person a few more times. As talented as Harrison Barnes seems to be, I actually find him incredibly frustrating to watch as a basketball fan, and frankly don't like his attitude, demeanor or effort. I see him putting up numbers, significantly because of the talent he plays with, but I never got the perception that other teams (Duke included) put any extra emphasis on stopping Barnes. No one played a box and one against him. He was a difference maker for a few games late last season. In my opinion he was the fourth best player on his team this year and had the second best season of players from his high school team. A national player of the year candidate? He wasn't even in the conversation for conference player of the year. Stay or go, unless he changes his stripes, I won't enjoy watching him play at UNC or in the NBA.
1. It's not clear to me that he is a "terrific player"; he is IMO a good player and a dangerous player who can score in bunches, but lacks some other elements
2. His demeanor and attitude are puzzling, a bit different
3. There's a major gap between the hype that surrounded HB (which Barnes himself certainly promoted) and his performance.
I'm not sure what to expect next from Barnes; he may declare for the draft, or he may not.
He may make significant improvements to his game, or he may not. I'm pretty well convinced that Barnes does not have a high ceiling (NBA All-Star for example) but could be good.
He got branded. Clap, clap, clapclapclap.
You must spread some comments around before flaming the Moderators again.
I really think McAdoo will be "the dude" next year if he comes back.
I don't really buy the whole argument that Barnes needs Marshall to be effective or that Marshall's absence is the explanation for Barnes' struggles. I also disagree that he failed to improve this year.
I'm too lazy to look up stats at the moment, but I think it's worth noting the obvious point that Marshall makes everyone better; most of our numbers dropped when Marshall was off the court, so there is not that much unique about Barnes in that regard. Yes, Barnes improved dramatically when Marshall took over from LDII, but some/ much of that was a function of getting accustomed to the college game.
More to the point, Barnes started slumping toward the end of this season, well before Marshall went out. I can't remember a 20-point game in the last few weeks of the season, except the ACC final. At one point about halfway through the season, he was in the high-40s in terms of overall shooting percentage and mid 40s for 3P%. He probably finished in the mid-40s and mid-30s respectively. For whatever reason, he lost his outside touch. It happens, shooters go through slumps. This one was particularly ill-timed, but a shooting slump is hardly uncommon. I felt like I watched him miss a million wide-open threes in the last quarter of the season.
He definitely improved his ability to drive to the basket this season, as evidenced by his increase in foul shot attempts. But once his outside touch left him, he had a little more trouble in that aspect of his game too. In part, this was because his first step is not that quick and once he was less of a threat to take a one-dribble pull up, defenders could play him to prevent the drive. I also think it was part a loss of confidence. It seemed so obvious that he was pressing the last few weeks, which is what happens to most players who loses his or her touch. Few players who are first and foremost shooters can keep a shooting slump from affecting other parts of the game.
I agree with some of the criticism of Barnes' personality, i.e. that he is too self-conscious of his brand, that he appears robotic and has trouble just letting the game come to him. And I fear that has taken some of the fun out of the game for him. But much of the criticism I find over the top and off putting. Absent the tremendous expectations that surround him, which admittedly he helped create, we would be more likely to focus on his impressive feat of having led our team in scoring two years in a row. How many sophomores that average 17+ points and 5+ rebounds catch this much heat?
But I think we're actually in agreement that Marshall has made Barnes look a whole lot better than Barnes would look wthout him.
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."
I realize this is a totally biased view, but I do think Barnes would have been better off coming to Duke. We certainly could have used him this year.
I don't think the fact that Singler would play in front of him as a freshman helped even if Duke was legitimately in the running. At UNC, he'd be handed the SF reigns right away. I'm sure that only solidified things.
I won't speculate as to which program would have better prepared him. Both coaches have put quite a lot of talent in the NBA over the years. I think the biggest thing would have been up to Barnes in either case. Maybe he'd have prepared differently at Duke, maybe not. It's just too hard to say.