Current Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 20:27:16 -0500
On Feb. 26, 2008, Harrison Barnes lost for the last time in his high school career.
A heartbreaking, last-second shot gave Iowa’s Marshalltown the 51-50 win against Barnes-led Ames in the state playoffs when he was a sophomore. The Little Cyclones would go on to win their next 53 straight games and two state titles.
The North Carolina freshman forward said after losing 76-69 to Kentucky on Sunday in the Elite Eight that he felt just like he did three years ago.
“That hurt for three months,” his mom, Shirley Barnes, said on Tuesday. “And that was the last time he lost. He has goals and I think he wants to fulfill those goals.”
Harrison Barnes, who has yet to decide whether to forgo his remaining three years of collegiate eligibility and enter the NBA Draft, said Sunday it was sad the Tar Heels did not reach their full potential.
“We could have gone so much further and done so many better things, and just to end the season the way that we did, that’s what hurts the most,” he said.
Barnes sobbed with his head draped with a white towel in the Prudential Center locker room Sunday. He raised his head to speak with the media with watered eyes and a softer-than-normal voice.
When asked if he had played his final game in a North Carolina uniform, Barnes gave no indication which way he was leaning, only that he was living in the moment that visibly consumed him.
“I’m not thinking about the NBA,” he said.
Shirley Barnes said when the time is right, her son will make his decision.
“Harrison needs to heal from this loss,” she said. “We haven’t really talked about it, honestly. It’s not pressing to us. It’s what it is.”
Barnes can declare for the draft as late as April 24, which is the deadline for all underclassmen to apply early. NBAdraft.net has Barnes going No. 2 overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves, while DraftExpress.com has the Washington Wizards selecting Barnes at No. 4.
Barnes was the first freshman ever to be named an AP preseason All-American. He finished the season as ACC Rookie of the Year, averaging 15.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game on 42.3 percent shooting.
A player in the Roy Williams era interested in testing NBA waters typically meets with the coach, who speaks with pro team representatives to assess his draft stock.
Williams will go to Houston this weekend for the National Association of Basketball Coaches Convention, held annually at the Final Four site.
Along with Barnes, sophomore John Henson and junior Tyler Zeller have been listed on draft sites as possible early entrants, with Henson being listed as a lottery pick on DraftExpress.
“I’m going to … give them the information that I can get from my friends in the NBA … and try to tell them what their evaluation would be,” Williams said on his weekly radio show Monday.
“And then I’m going to sit back and then tell them to tell me what they want to do. I will give them my opinion about what I think would be best for them, but I want them to tell me what they want to do and allow them and their families to make a decision.”
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