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The Daily Tar Heel
From the Press Box

The NBA and Henson, Zeller and Barnes

After taking Kentucky down to the wire in its Elite Eight matchup, North Carolina will seek a return to the NCAA tournament next season.

But will the Tar Heels have three of their best players in their 2012 tournament run?

Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes have all been listed as possibilities for leaving UNC early to enter the 2011 NBA Draft. Barnes and Henson are both listed as lottery picks in June’s draft, according to DraftExpress.com.

The deadline for early entry into the draft is April 24, and any word from the trio isn’t expected before the national championship, which will be played April 4.

A team spokesman said Tuesday that Roy Williams will be in Houston at the Final Four for the annual National Association of Basketball Coaches convention.

In past situations, the players would speak with their family and Williams after taking a week or two off. Williams would then speak with representatives from NBA teams to assess the draft stock of the Tar Heel.

Former UNC forward Ed Davis announced for the draft on April 12, 2010, just 11 days after the Tar Heels lost in the NIT championship to Dayton last season. Then-juniors Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington put their names in the draft pool on April 23, 2009, 17 days after the Tar Heels won the 2009 national championship.

Henson and Zeller were both quoted last week as saying they will have to speak with their families and Williams before making a decision about the NBA. When asked in the locker room following the Kentucky loss, Barnes gave no indication of which way he was leaning.

“I’m not thinking about the NBA,” he said with watered eyes and a towel draping his head.

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