UNC's Harrison Barnes: The Next Carmelo Anthony or John Henson?

Justin CrawfordCorrespondent IApril 15, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - APRIL 5:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Syracuse University Orangeman smiles during the semifinal round of the NCAA Final Four Tournament against the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns at the Louisiana Superdome on April 5, 2003 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Syracuse defeated Texas 95-84, advancing them to the Championship game.  (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)
Craig Jones/Getty Images

He is the No. 1 prospect in the country, will be playing at a prestigious college, and is a possible future No. 1 draft pick.

The name is Harrison Barnes.

Could a high school senior’s life be any better?

Not likely.

His name will not be remembered by how he played in high school though. It will, however, be remembered by how he plays at the University of North Carolina and by his future in the NBA.

What will his freshman year at UNC bring?

The Tar Heel roster as it currently looks, with the departure of Ed Davis and assurance that Larry Drew will not transfer, is not championship worthy. That is if Harrison Barnes is not the real deal.

A player the quality of Harrison Barnes can change the whole complexion of the team if he pulls out his best Carmelo Anthony impersonation.

Carmelo averaged 22.2 points and 10 rebounds per game in the 2002-2003 season to lead the Orange to win a championship.

Interestingly Barnes and Anthony are the same height, 6’8”.

We will let the comparison stop there because Harrison Barnes has to make his own name in order for the Heels to be back on top at the end of the season.

Barnes is an outstanding player. His recent All-Star games have displayed his incredible talent.  In the McDonald’s All-American High School game, he scored 18 points, a team high, and won co-MVP honors.

A few days later he helped the USA team win the Nike Hoop Summit by scoring 27 points and bringing down seven rebounds.

Of course, Barnes is used to winning. He recently led his high school team to win the state championship. Roy Williams has to love having a guy on his team that wins championships.

I do not want to take this too far and make Barnes something he is not. He may need time to develop, remember John Henson.

But I think Barnes may be of a different breed. Something special.

Barnes is a poised and mature basketball player. He plays with a purpose.

He has size, but plays much like a guard. He can drain the three, and beat people off the dribble. One of the best aspects of his game is his mid-range jumper. Add to that he is athletic, and not afraid to pass. The list can go on-and-on. That makes for quite a basketball player.

He can have more of an impact than did Ed Davis or John Henson had because his body is more developed into that of a college player. Once he gets into the conditioning program at UNC he will beef up and become even stronger.

One of his key attributes is his ability to score. Carolina did not have a go-to-scorer this past season. Barnes may very well be that man this season.

In Roy Williams’ run-and-gun system, Barnes has the opportunity to be a prolific scorer, and terrific basketball player.

Because of this ability, Tar Heel fans may very well only see him play at the Dean Dome for one year.  Most NBA draft experts see him as a “one-and-done” player. My advice is to get your tickets early so that you can see Harrison Barnes play.

That one year could be special in Chapel Hill if Barnes lives up to his incredible potential and hype.



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