Barnes Opts For UNC

The nation got a front row seat for top prospect Harrison Barnes early signing period decision today. Barnes will lace them up in Chapel Hill and not Lawrence next season. It was a victory for UNC in what ultimately appeared to be a Tobacco Road tussle down the stretch.

The first time I met Harrison Barnes in the summer of 2008 on the AAU trail, one thing struck me about the 6-7 swingman –he was different.

That's why it was no surprise that his recruitment concluded, well, differently.

A gym full of supporters at Ames High School were on hand to see Barnes make his college decision. A national television audience via ESPNU was also anxiously awaiting the choice from's number one ranked player from the class of 2010. Five satellite trucks and eight other television crews later Barnes was ready for his big day. After Barnes was lauded by his high school coach, the astute high school senior went through a list of acknowledgements and thank yous including ones directed at every school and coach remaining on his list – KU, Oklahoma, Duke, Carolina, UCLA, and hometown favorite Iowa State.  Barnes then stepped to the podium and proceeded to Skype the winning coach who just happened to be Roy Williams of North Carolina.

And with one swipe of a computer key we welcomed Skype to the recruiting world -a very different way to "make the call", and a method that symbolizes a sign of the times and who Harrison Barnes is.

When I first saw him take the court in an AAU game for All-Iowa Attack back in the summer of 2008 in Orlando I was amazed at the ease he played the game with. It was no surprise that the biggest name coaches made him their priority and drove to every corner of Orlando to see this talented prospect play. But what you learn from Barnes off the court is what really leaves you shaking your head. He is so well-spoken and so driven. Every once in awhile a recruit strikes you with their intelligence and maturity beyond their years and Harrison does that. I felt the same about Spencer Hawes and Cole Aldrich. Both of those big men were smart and driven but not a single recruit I have ever met meets the drive of Barnes. That's no knock on others it is a compliment directed towards Harrison.

There is no doubt Carolina has a winner on and off the court and I wouldn't be surprised if Barnes left UNC after two years for the NBA with a diploma in hand. I also think he'll have the option of leaving Chapel Hill after just one year in powder blue. The sky is the limit for this Iowa product.

This part is just my opinion but…Television coverage of recruiting decisions is becoming the norm for top prospects. In the last year KU fans have watched decisions from Xavier Henry and now Barnes. I'm just not sure I agree with the idea that kids get to announce their choice on national television without the other coaches knowing what it is. The coaches truly did not know about a decision Barnes admitted he made by about Tuesday night. I might be old school but I would think that each coach in his final six was entitled to a phone call. Maybe he was afraid of a leak. Maybe he will make the calls after but it just seems like the right thing to do. Recruiting is certainly taking a turning towards this method more and more. Just seems if you've been recruited by a school/program/coach for two plus years you owe them the courtesy of the call. I'm certainly not knocking Barnes but it is my feeling that recruiting and now recruiting decisions have become a circus.

Kansas fans should be disappointed and Carolina fans should be ecstatic. Roy Williams just got himself one very talented and driven kid and for Harrison it was the type of day he's dreamed of his entire life. Top Stories