Harrison Barnes Brings NBA Trophy to Chapel Hill

Harrison Barnes and James Michael McAdoo brought their NBA championship trophy to Chapel Hill this weekend. Barnes spoke to reporters at Kenan Stadium on Saturday.

What’s it like being back, Harrison?

It’s fun, man. Just to not only be back on campus, but I have obviously James (Michael McAdoo) here, John (Henson) here as well, just kinda talking old memories with those guys and interacting with the new guys, it’s pretty fun.


How often do you get back to Chapel Hill?

It’s been a while since I’ve been back. It’s finally nice to have a couple of days here of no real agenda, just relax and hit the old spots.


Why wasn’t the roster for the North Carolina-Kentucky game what you expected?

Scheduling with NBA players in the summer is very difficult. Very difficult. So we had 15 guys at one point, and then two guys at another point, trying to get everyone there, but obviously happy I’m able to get the game off the ground and kind of improve the concept and hopefully we can do it in the years to come.


In what ways has your life changed since you guys the NBA Title?

It’s been nuts. People recognize you on the street. People in your hometown are even more excited. Free Chipotle. It’s just been unreal.


What does three years away do for your perspective on your time here in Chapel Hill?

I realize how young I was when I was in college. When you’re here you always think, “Oh I’m so old, I’m away from my mom, I’m out of the house, I’m so grown up,” and then you have to go to the NBA and you’re like “Wow.” You really have to grow up quickly. But my time here definitely prepared me in terms of playing in front of a big fan base and having Carolina on your back.


Who do you still keep in contact with from your playing days at UNC?

Our group chat is me, Kendall (Marshall), Reggie (Bullock), John (Henson), Dexter (Strickland), Leslie (McDonald) and Justin (Watts).


What does it mean to you to have James Michael McAdoo as an NBA teammate?

Obviously I know the whole draft experience didn’t go how he wanted it to, but he continued to work, he got better, he made the team, and I just told him “We’ve got something special here, man, so the fact that you’re able to be here, to experience this too, will take you a long way in your career.” And for him to just be on a team that wins a championship, for him to get that experience that early in his career, I think that will help him so much more.


What do you think of this year’s UNC basketball team?

After playing with them, they’re nice, man. They’re nice. They might have been able to beat us back in 2012, so hopefully they can put it all together this year and make a deep run.


How would the 2012 team have matched up against this year’s team?

It would have been close, it definitely would have been close, but we would have won.


What do you see out of some guys in particular on this year’s team?

I really like the way Isaiah Hicks is playing. He plays aggressive, he’s getting to the basket. Joel James has improved a lot, just with his post moves and stuff like that, and obviously Justin (Jackson) is making some big strides as well. He’s shooting it extremely well, putting the ball on the floor, and Marcus (Paige) is Marcus, he’s out there dominating. I feel confident that they’re going to do well this year.


Do you keep up with the program?

For sure. That’s like, that’s a large part of the group chat. Just going back and forth during the games. “What’s so-and-so doing on the court?” or “You see that dunk that J.P. (Tokoto) just had?” We always keep tabs.


What was your recruiting experience like?

To this day, Coach Williams was still the college coach that came to see me the most. They got into the recruiting game late, but he always was there in person. Whether it was the most amount of visits, or he’s being there, or he’s working harder than everybody else. It’s just crazy how they were the last school to get in, but they made up all that ground, and ultimately this was the place for me.


Other than Roy Williams, what was the difference between UNC and the other schools that recruited you?

Honestly, the visit. The (100th) year anniversary, seeing the whole Tar Heel family. Past, current, NBA current players, future recruits, that was just special. Just because, you look at all these other programs, and great players have gone there and played, but it’s not that family atmosphere. Everybody doesn’t come back and see that and you say “Wow, I really want to be a part of that more than anything else.” I want to play on that stage, but also have that bond where the guy that played in the 1950’s and the guy that’s going to play 10 years after me, we’re all connected.

Inside Carolina Top Stories