The talk of college basketball made his decision on where he's going to play college ball. Harrison Barnes ended one of the top recruiting circuses of the season with an announcement to play basketball at North Carolina.
In a world of increased online communication and social media, this announcement hits Duke extremely hard. Recruiting in college basketball has become much easier to follow with incredible in-depth access to highly touted prospects just a year or two away from starring in the NBA.
In the moments following Barnes' declaration to play for Roy Williams, thousands of tweets containing the word "Barnes" filled the social networking site. That's thousands of people across the nation discussing Barnes. That's thousands of users following those discussing Barnes instantly reading about Barnes' decision. Barnes quickly rose into Twitters' top 10 trending topics.
Twitter is giving other recruits instant feedback on Barnes' decision to go to UNC. They get reactions from anyone and everyone and most of those reactions are praising North Carolina and trashing Duke. Not trashing UCLA or Iowa State or even Oklahoma and Kansas who were among the finalists for Barnes.
Duke looked like it finally was starting to gain ground in its never-ending war with North Carolina after bringing in a solid recruiting class this season and signing highly touted guard Kyrie Irving.
Barnes' decision to go with the baby blue just ended that.
Then Barnes seemingly knowing his place in the rivalry already told ESPNU this, "I think it will be one of the greatest feelings to be able to play in front of the Cameron Crazies because I've been and I've seen the North Carolina rivalry and I think it will be absolutely great, and I think it will be a great game."
Well yes Harrison, it will be a great game from your perspective when your Heels run-and-gun to an 18-point win.
Barnes joins two more five-star recruits, shooting guard Reggie Bullock and point guard Kendall Marshall in Roy Williams' 2010 recruiting class.
The addition of Barnes to that class doesn't just put North Carolina head and shoulders above Duke next season, but it should put UNC in a separate league from almost everyone else. We don't know who from this current Tar Heels team will bail for the NBA after this season (my gut says just Ed Davis), but UNC will be close to having double-digit McDonald's All-Americans.
With 2008 and 2009's recruiting classes focusing on the frontcourt, the 2010 recruiting class gives Roy Williams a full complement of perimeter and wing players that will allow the Tar Heels to run two or three deep at every single position.
North Carolina will be the most versatile, talented team in the country next season.
The one thing North Carolina is probably missing this season is a dynamic long range shooter.
Harrison Barnes is that player.
Barnes is a player who may impact North Carolina directly on the court for one season, but his impact on Chapel Hill starts now. His decision will help lure other five-star McDonald's All-Americans to Tobacco Road.
He's not a lock to go pro after one season, but with his skill set and size it's hard to imagine he won't be a millionaire in 2011. He'll be a perfect fit to play the wing in the NBA. Barnes stands somewhere in the neighborhood of 6'7'' as now, but remember, Barnes isn't even 18 years old yet. Barnes could still have two or three years of growing ahead of him.
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