UNC’s Harrison Barnes: going fourth overall to the Cavaliers? (video)

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North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Barnes had a colorful and highly publicized two year college basketball career. He got off to a very rough start as a freshman, and ESPN had some fun with his very early struggles. I asked Roy Williams about it at a postgame media session, and that triggered Roy to go off on this rant against the WWL.

Eventually, Barnes lived up to his promise and shocked many experts when he decided to return to Chapel Hill for his sophomore season. His draft stock was high enough, but the NBA lockout probably had consequence on his decision to stay.

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Preseason All-American Harrison Barnes will Eventually Be Alright, Trust Me

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North Carolina Freshman three Harrison Barnes was rated the No. 1 overall recruit in the nation, and is the first ever preseason All-American first team selection to garner the honor without ever playing a single collegiate minute. (The preseason All-America team was instituted in 1986). And Fox Sports.com and CBS Sports.com named him the preseason  player of the year. So to say the expectations of Barnes are “sky-high,” is the understatement of the year.

He’s quite possibly the most highly acclaimed college basketball rookie ever, as he was named to the Naismith Award Watch list, ACC Player of the year by this publication, National Freshman of the year by that publication, well you get the idea. NBA Mock Drafts, including ours, have had him as the #1 or #2 overall pick. So when things got off to a rough start for Barnes, the critics came out in full force.

“I really don’t mind all the personal scrutiny, it’s really more about winning and losing, I’m not a fan of losing, I really didn’t lose much in high school,” Barnes said after I caught up to him in Champaign, following a decisive defeat at the hands of the Illinois Fighting Illini.

By Paul M. Banks

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UNC’s Roy Williams Calls Out ESPN’s Hyprocritical Coverage of Harrison Barnes

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Last night, the Illinois Fighting Illini defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Big Ten ACC Challenge, arguably college basketball’s premier non-conference event. This exciting evening featured Illini fans harassing UNC freshman phenom Harrison Barnes with chants of “overrated” down the stretch of Illinois’ convincing victory.

Harrison Barnes has been projected the #1 or #2 overall pick in next year’s NBA Draft by pretty much every mock draft across the board. However, his early career is off to a very rough start. After going 2-9 against Illinois, he’s shooting just 33.8 percent through the season’s first seven games.

In the post-game news conference I asked North Carolina coach Roy Williams what he thought about the defense Illinois played on Harrison Barnes. The result was even more exciting than the game itself as Williams went off on a rant defending his highly heralded freshman and critiquing sports media.

Williams brought up the criticism Barnes has received, focusing on ESPN in particular for building up and then tearing down the McDonald’s All-American.

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