Duke Front & Center For Nation's Best

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Harrison Barnes has heard it before and he gets it. Being called a "Duke kind of guy" isn't such a bad thing, says the nation's top player in the class of 2010.

Harrison Barnes knows the comment is meant as a high end compliment and he knows what goes with such praise.

"I have heard that. A lot of Duke players are very well mannered and very polished people," Barnes said. "They are very articulate and I think I have some of those traits. It is very much a compliment."

It shouldn't come as a big surprise that Mike Krzyzewski, Chris Collins and Steve Wojohowski have sat midcourt for each of Barnes's games at the Peach Jam this week. It shouldn't also come as a big surprise that the Blue Devils are very much in the mix.

The Ames, Iowa native is the hot target for every major head coach in Augusta this week. Roy Williams, Bill Self, Billy Donovan, John Calipari, Ben Howland, Jeff Capel, Johnny Dawkins and Greg McDermott are pulling up a chair and watching Barnes in action. Barnes said he has not only taken notice of the faces in the crowd but has also seen the gleam from the national championship rings that are on the fingers of the on-lookers.

"I like to consider myself a winner so it's nice to see all of those championships over there. I'd like to have one of that myself one day," Barnes said.

Barnes said he's looking forward to the next level of his recruitment. Duke is good position, too, he said.

"I've been to Duke many times, especially the Duke-North Carolina game. It's a very homey atmosphere. There is a strong sense of family there and Coach K really stresses that in them," Barnes said. "It's a very homey place.

"Academics is going to be the key, a good business school. With things outside of basketball things like how I will be after there and I will develop there."

After visiting Durham and getting to know Coach K on a personal level, Barnes said he likes where his relationship is with the Duke head man.

"You have to have a strong link with your coach off the court. In close situations, you have to have that trust, that bond," Barnes said. "Coach K really takes the father role for all of his players. He really wants to teach and help his players understand what they have to do."

Barnes scored an impressive 36 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Houston Hoops on Monday morning. However, he almost didn't play in the game. Barnes went up for a block against elite junior Marquis Teague on Sunday night and cut his finger and ripped off his thumb nail. On Monday, his hands were wrapped up like a mummy and the pain, Barnes says, was less than pleasant.

"I just tried to get a ‘W' out there," Barnes said afterwards in an impromptu press conference. "It's searing pain. Whenever there is contact, it really hurts. But when the adrenaline hits, it's fine. The other night I wasn't sure if I'd even be playing today."

Barnes played. And Barnes shined. His energy and motor give him a sizable advantage.

Barnes won't play any more AAU tournaments for the summer. He'll trip to Portland, Oregon for the Nike Global Challenge and to New York City for the Elite 24.

"At the end of August, I'll start to trim my list down. I don't know when I'll take the visits and I'm not really sure if I'll sign early or late," Barnes said.

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