When the ball swung to a wide open Harrison Barnes on the wing, the whole crowd of 14,259 at the Smith Center held its collective breath, raising arms in anticipation of its eventual swish through the net. Instead, the ball clanged off the side of the rim as people, disappointed, took their seats.
It probably wasn’t what he had in mind for his first game in a North Carolina uniform. Barnes, the first freshman selected as an AP preseason All-American and seen by many as the face of this year’s UNC squad, had a horrific introduction in the Tar Heels’ 108-67 exhibition against visiting Barton College.
UNC coach Roy Williams didn’t seem worried by his star freshman’s seven-point, six-turnover statline though, and even had a word to describe it: freshmanitis.
“Our freshmen, Reggie (Bullock) and Harrison, I talk about how well they shoot it, they had freshmanitis — they go 1-for-9 from the three-point line,” Williams said. “I told (Barnes) it was just like the first time he got here on a Sunday night this summer, they played four pick-up games and were 0-4.
“That’s what he did earlier this summer when they got their tails kicked on Sunday night and he was here at 2:30 in the morning shooting some, and they didn’t get their tails kicked again.”