Nation's Top SF Shifting Gears

After leading his team to a state championship, Ames (IA) small forward Harrison Barnes is finally ready to start focusing on his individual recruiting journey. With a who's who of college basketball calling on him, where does the nation's top small forward see himself? TDD spoke with Barnes to find out.

"Honestly I put recruiting on hold for the balance of my high school season," said Harrison Barnes. "Making that decision allowed me to focus exclusively on my high school season - which was the right choice."

Certainly it would be hard to argue with the results after Barnes led Ames to a state championship - averaging over 20 points and 10 boards throughout the balance of the post season. With high school now over, the 6'6 junior is starting up the AAU circuit and looking to solidify himself as one of, if not the, top prospects in the nation.

"Certainly I am going to approach each time on the floor as someone with something to prove. I have been successful for a while, but I believe that hard work will help me continue to improve and get much better. When you stop working, you can lose it really fast."

Improvement or not, Barnes has been good enough to have a ton of interest from some of the nation's top coaches. This week North Carolina's Roy Williams made a stop in Iowa to watch an open gym. The gesture by the Tar Heel coach was something that Barnes appreciated.

"For him to make a point to come up here after winning a national championship is humbling. I know North Carolina is interested in me."

Of course the Tar Heels aren't the only Tobacco Road program interested in Barnes. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski's Duke program has also openly expressed a desire to earn a commitment from Barnes. And certainly there has been a link between the Blue Devils and Barnes who has visited Duke twice already - including a midseason surprise visit to Durham.

"I had wanted to surprise Coach K and he was certainly surprised to see me. It was a great visit and I got a great understanding of what it means to be a Duke basketball player. I talked to the coaches, the players, and other people associated with the team and program. Impressive may be selling that short, but that's the best word I can come with."

As with any high major process of this caliber, Barnes was immediately assigned to recruiting rumors when he returned home from Durham. And, with his self-imposed moratorium with regards to recruiting information, the rumors began getting more frequent. Now, with his season over, the five star prospect has a simple statement to quiet them.

"It's still really early. I am going to visit some other schools. I don't have enough information to call someone a leader. I've seen three schools up close - Duke, Kansas, and Iowa State. I need to see some others. I will do what I can to visit schools this summer. Being on the East Coast a few times for AAU and other competitions I am going to try to visit Duke again as well. It's always fun to visit them."

Barnes will be in attendance at the Boo Williams Invitational this weekend.

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