Harrison Barnes To Stay At North Carolina, Does Not Enter 2011 NBA Draft

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Harrison Barnes Spurns 2011 NBA Draft, Will Return For Sophomore Season At North Carolina

Harrison Barnes, a potential top five pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, has decided instead to come back to school. The North Carolina small forward made it official, announcing his intention to return for his sophomore season instead of running for NBA riches. 

"Opportunities, both beneficial and life changing, can seem to make the next phase of my journey an easy decision," Barnes said in a statement. "But I am a student-athlete at the University of North Carolina. I'm here to experience college life, grow as a person, receive a quality education, and be part of the greatest basketball family in college sports."

Barnes averaged 15.7 points per game for the Tar Heels last season, starting off slowly before coming on at the end of the year. He was the nation's top recruit and was widely expected to follow in the footsteps of other one-and-done phenoms like Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and John Wall. Instead, Barnes has decided to return to North Carolina, where he'll team with Tyler Zeller, John Henson and others for the likely preseason No. 1 team in the country.

Barnes becomes the latest top NBA Draft prospect to decide to return to school instead. Ohio State's Jared Sullinger is the other who is returning to school.


Harrison Barnes' NBA Draft Decision Still Up In The Air, According To Report

Harrison Barnes has not yet made his mind up about whether he’ll enter the 2011 NBA Draft or not, according to a Thursday night tweet by FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman. There had been a minor surge Barnes draft surge shortly prior due to a widely retweeted report by thehoopsreport.com’s Ryan Feldman, which alleged that Barnes will return for his sophomore season.

Goodman cites Barnes’ mother as saying no decision has been made and that his choice is likely to be announced next week.

You’ll forgive UNC fans for being eager to hear good news from Barnes. The team is already loaded for next year, and retaining the ACC Rookie of the Year would be ridiculous. There have been remarkably few rumors sprouting up during the course of the Barnes story, with pretty much everyone just sitting and waiting. Whether he’s staying or going, it sounds like we won’t have to wait all that much longer anyway.

For more on UNC sports, join Carolina March.


Harrison Barnes Could Return To UNC Basketball Instead Of Entering NBA Draft

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt tweeted Monday that he’s “hearing Harrison Barnes will remain” a member of the North Carolina Tar Heels instead of declaring for the 2011 NBA Draft. If true, that would make Barnes the third lottery pick in under a week to opt for a return, joining Perry Jones and Jared Sullinger.

More importantly for UNC fans, it would also mean the team would retain its three best players from a squad that reached the Elite Eight and ACC Championship Game. With the Duke Blue Devils set to lose Kyrie Irving, the Heels would be even bigger favorites than they already were to win the conference next year.

In fact, that’s probably short-selling the effect a Barnes return would have on next year’s expectations. A preseason top-five ranking is all but assured if the ice-watery freshman chooses to remain in Chapel Hill.

For more on UNC, visit Carolina March.


Harrison Barnes Mulls 2011 NBA Draft As John Henson, Tyler Zeller Announce Returns

While Harrison Barnes has yet to decide whether he'll enter the 2011 NBA Draft, North Carolina Tar Heels basketball teammates John Henson and Tyler Zeller have announced they'll be back in Chapel Hill next season. Coach Roy Williams says he's still collecting information from NBA personnel on Barnes' draft status, which he'll review with the star freshman soon.

Barnes was named ACC Rookie of the Year and All-ACC Second Team. Down the stretch he became perhaps the conference's most clutch shooter, banging home shots to beat FSU and Miami, among others. Henson earned the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year award, and Zeller joined Barnes on the conference's Second Team.

Henson on his return:

I want to come back to school next year because I enjoy all aspects of being a college student and I truly love being a Tar Heel. We had a fun and successful season, but we all want to improve on what we accomplished. I know at some point I want to play in the NBA, but right now I want to enjoy my college life. My teammates and coaches are great and I want to help them reach the big dreams we all share.    

And Zeller's thoughts on the matter:

I came to Carolina because it had the balance of academics and basketball I wanted and it was the best place for me to prepare for life and a career in the NBA. That's exactly what we have here. I want to finish my college career, compete for championships and graduate on time. That means a lot to my family and me. Plus, I know I can get stronger and improve my all-around game with another year. We had a great season getting to the Elite Eight, but I would like a chance at going out with another title.    

For more on the Heels, visit Carolina March.

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