NCAA Tournament 2012: Harrison Barnes' Deep Run Will Help UNC Star's Draft Stock

Scott SemmlerAnalyst IIMarch 19, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11:  Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels gestures on court against the Florida State Seminoles during the Final Game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 11, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

For Harrison Barnes to be a top-5 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, it will take a deep NCAA Tournament run, including a Final Four appearance.

Barnes has been considered a top-10 pick throughout this entire season, but there are some that say he can do so much more than just be a top-10 pick in the draft.

The problem is Barnes is not in dire need of the ball, as other top-5 picks are.  Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all get their touches during a game, but Barnes seems to be more of a facilitator while on the floor for North Carolina.

That can be a good or bad thing, as it shows that he can be a team player to help his team win the ball game, but it is also a bad thing that he cannot fully take over a game.

Everyone knows Barnes has the ability to take over the game, but he has yet to show it on a consistent level.

That could be for many reasons: UNC has more NBA-level talent on their roster than most other teams, minus Kentucky, and Barnes has shown he can get them their touches, making the Tar Heels a better all-around team.

However, for Barnes to really get his foot in the door as far as becoming a notable top-5 pick in June's NBA Draft, UNC needs to make a run this tournament far deeper than just the Sweet 16 or Elite 8.  Barnes needs show he can be a leading scorer for a successful team in the NCAA Tournament where the pressure is always at its highest.

He will also need to keep up consistent production throughout, showing NBA scouts that he is an efficient player that can produce on a regular basis.

The NCAA Tournament is a make-or-break for Barnes, who has yet to fully take on that superstar role everyone knows he's capable of.  We can expect his production to ramp up in the most pressure-filled of times during this tournament.