The nation's top high school basketball player in the class of 2010, Harrison Barnes is no stranger to Lawrence or the University of Kansas. In fact, the 6-foot-7 wing from Ames (Iowa) High has been on the KU campus several times. This weekend, Barnes will be in the Lawrence area for the fifth time in the last two years as he makes his official visit for Late Night in the Phog festivities.
Having visited unofficially in the past, Barnes says that it will be a good opportunity to get to know the players, their lives and Bill Self in even greater detail.
"I've been to KU a few times so I've gotten a chance to see the university," said Barnes of his upcoming official. "I know about the academics, I know about the basketball history and tradition there. This visit will be a good time for me to spend time with the players in their element, get a feel for what the campus life is like and spend a lot of one on one time with coach Self."
In particular, Barnes feels that it will be important to get a good read on the guys that he could potentially be playing with next season. Like anybody else who follows college basketball, Barnes has read and heard about recent off the court incidents involving Jayhawk players that have resulted in some negative publicity.
"There's always good and bad that happens at any university," said Barnes. "A little bit of bad press has happened now at KU. But, overall it would be good for me to go down now, hang out with the guys and get a vibe for what they're really all about."
One element of Kansas basketball that Barnes is very sure of is head coach Bill Self. Throughout the process, Barnes has developed a strong relationship with Self.
"I have known Coach Self since practically the beginning of my recruitment," Barnes told Phog.Net. "We've developed a very good relationship over time. I feel comfortable with him, I think he feels comfortable with me and I think that we both trust each other. So, I'd have to say that we have a great relationship."
Planning to make his decision before he begins his senior season opens with practice on November 16th, Barnes has already visited the campuses of North Carolina and Oklahoma officially. Following his visit to Kansas, he's got official visits set for Duke and UCLA and will stop by hometown Iowa State one more time for an unofficial visit.
Not surprisingly, those visits will play a prominent role in his final decision.
"The official visit its kind of like the university's last chance to make a big stand for what they are all about," finished Barnes. "Now that the contact period is over and they can just evaluate me, it's their chance to make an impression. It makes the decision a little harder, but it can be just as good or just as bad because a school could eliminate themselves on a bad visit."