Harrison Barnes Prepares For Visits

As college programs ready to kick off their 2008-09 campaigns, top prospects around the country are getting in school visits. This weekend, top five junior Harrison Barnes will take the first of a pair of October unofficial visits when he trips to Kansas on Friday

A week later, the six-foot-six inch wing from Ames (IA) High will catch a flight to North Carolina so that he can check out the campus of Duke. Before he left town, Barnes spent a little time updating the latest on his recruitment and future plans.

"Right now the plan is that Friday I will go to Kansas midnight madness," said Harrison Barnes who will be accompanied to Lawrence by his mother Shirley and sister Jordan-Ashley. "Then on Saturday I'll get in a campus visit and watch some of their practice."

The next weekend in Durham figures to feature many of the main activities. For Barnes, it's way to start getting a feel for two of the many national powers that are recruiting him.

"For both schools I'm just trying to get a general feel for the atmosphere and what the school is all about," Barnes told Phog.Net. "I just want to get a feel for each University and the team and what everything is like and all of those little details."

Pretty much all one has to do is take a look at any pre-season ranking to see a list of programs who are also involved. North Carolina, Illinois, UCLA, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kentucky, and of course hometown Iowa State among others have been in to check on Barnes.

From the sounds of it, things have gotten pretty much back to normal though.

"At the beginning of open gym there were a lot of coaches. But last week there were not as many," said Barnes of the coaches invading his open gym sessions every Monday and the need to set up a media section. "That was just a rumor about the media section. They did keep the people watching the open gym and the media on the upper part of the gym. They let the coaches come down to the lower level."

In other cases, such closely focused attention on one star player has created jealousy. However, Barnes says that hasn't been an issue and coaches coming through the gym can only be a good thing for his high school team which features other potential division one recruits.

"On my team I've not had to deal with (jealousy)," says Barnes. "I think it's a great experience for them as well because they can get some looks and college attention. I think it helps put them out there as well with the coaches coming to open gyms and there being a lot publicity."

Those open gym sessions and other hours in the gym spent refining his already versatile game appear to be paying off. Wanting to be more dangerous off the bounce, Barnes has really focused on his handle.

"I would say that I've improved on my breakdown game and ball handling in general," said Barnes. "I've been trying to improve on my dribbling in transition and making hard aggressive perimeter moves."

Because of his size, Barnes will undoubtedly spend some time on the interior for his high school team. He's fine with that, but also sure of where he'll play on the next level.

"I feel that this year I'll have to play both post and some perimeter," said Barnes. "I think it mostly depends what the team needs at the time. However in college I will play on the perimeter."

Like any other highly regarded player, Barnes has been compared to many players. Avoiding a direct comparison, Barnes does have a few favorite players that he tries to mold parts of his game after.

"I wouldn't say that I play like him, but I try to play with the aggressiveness and power of LeBron James," said Barnes of his playing style. "Then I try to incorporate some of the skill set that Kevin Durant has into my game."

In no hurry to cut down a list or name a top five or leader, Barnes is taking his time with his recruitment. While the possibility exists that he could make some winter visits, it's more likely that Barnes will be in a holding pattern until at least next Spring.

"Right now these two visits are before my high school season," said Barnes. "During the season I'll likeley be focusing on my high school team. So, the next time I'll probably be taking visits is during the Spring."

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