The Harrison Barnes Diary: Official visit to UNC
Words. Harrison Barnes
As he navigates through the hectic recruiting process, HighSchoolHoop.com’s top-rated player, Ames High (IA) swingman Harrison Barnes, has agreed to chronicle his thoughts for us during each of his five official visits. First up is North Carolina, who Barnes visited on Sept. 3…
I arrived at the Carolina Inn at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 3. Outside was Coach (Roy) Williams waiting for me and my family to take us to our rooms. The rooms were really nice.
Well, the first night I had to stay with my family because I think that’s just the policy, but the next night I got my own room. I got a queen bed to myself. I enjoyed that.
The next morning I went out with the coaching staff, everyone except Coach Williams, and they had some sweet experiences to share. I would say that C.B. McGrath had the best story. He told a story about when he was playing at Kansas for Coach Williams and they played against Coach (Steve) Robinson at Florida State. Coach McGrath likes to say that he had the left-handed layup that started the comeback for Kansas to beat Florida State. They were joking around about that.
From breakfast we went over to the basketball office and from there we went over to the business school where I met with the dean.
Then at about noon, I got a tour of campus on a golf cart and got to see where the dorms were, where the Dean Smith Center was, and I saw a few classes and walked around a little bit.
After that I had lunch with Coach Williams, and then I got to see the North Carolina museum. I’m not sure if you guys have heard about that, but it has all of the priceless North Carolina things such as Michael Jordan’s shoes, and a letter from Coach K to Michael Jordan saying that he hopes he does well at UNC. Then there’s a huge wall that lists all of the draft picks in North Carolina history. It was just huge. Who knows how big it was. The have a little room where they have a highlight film going and they had their national championship room. It was a cool experience to see all of the accomplishments that they have had over the years.
The UNC alumni game was that weekend, so before the game I got to get up a few shots with the players. We ate, and then we started the pregame festivities. I got to meet Michael Jordan and Dean Smith. That was a great experience because Michael was one of my favorite players ever to play the game.
Then we went out for the alumni game and the place was packed. Just to see guys like Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison playing with guys that just came out of college like Danny Green, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington … it was just cool to see how they interacted with each other.
After the game I got a chance to go see the social aspects of North Carolina that night with the players. After I saw the social aspects we went and got something to eat.
The next morning I went to eat breakfast at Coach Williams’ house. That was real cool! I saw his North Carolina room and all the accolades that he had gotten over the years. That was a lot of fun. Then I had a meeting with an academic advisor. They showed me what my schedule would look like if I came there. I thoroughly enjoyed that.
I finally got to come back and get some rest, because I was tired from the night before.
When I got up I went and played some more pickup games with the team. The pro guys didn’t play, but it was a good run. I forgot who all was on my team because teams were constantly changing, but me, Kendall Marshall and Ed Davis played together a lot. The team that was winning a lot was Dexter Strickland, John Henson, Will Graves, Deon Thompson and Marcus Ginyard. They won a lot of games. The other team had the Wear brothers (David and Travis), Reggie Bullock, Marshall Plumlee and Justin Watts. The games were real intense. No blood, no foul. I enjoyed that a lot.
I was going against Will Graves, and I didn’t realize how good of a shooter he was until he lit me up… a lot! But I feel like I came back and did pretty well. He had trouble guarding me, and I obviously had trouble guarding him. It was real good competition.
After that we went to a team tailgate in the practice gym. There were a lot of parents of the players there and Coach Williams and we all ate together so it was real cool. A lot of the pro guys were there, too, and I got a chance to talk with them about their experiences. Like Vince Carter, you could tell he missed it and he really loves Carolina. He was real aggressive about why I should want to go to Carolina. I got to meet George Karl, Larry Brown… There were a lot of really important people from there that I got to meet.
The football game was fun, too. I hadn’t heard too much about North Carolina football, but they looked really good against Citadel. They blew them out.
Then the most important thing was the ring ceremony for last year’s basketball team. Kendall, Reggie and I walked behind the team. The crowd was going crazy and we were all just laughing in the back because these guys are really like rock stars on campus. They got two rings; one for winning the ACC and the other for winning the national title. After they got their rings they came over to us and we got to see the rings and they were something that every high school player and college player would want. They were THAT impressive! Just holding one made me want one that much more.
After that we had a team meal at a really nice steak restaurant. We left there and I got to hang out with the players again. We had a good time… We went back to Franklin St. and had a really good time. The next morning I had breakfast again with the coaches and I left.
You know… This visit really gave me a clear perspective of what they were all about. They put their best foot forward and they did a good job. They set the standard for what I’m looking for on my other visits. It gave me a good marker for other schools.
That’s it for now… I’m headed to Oklahoma this weekend and I’m going to be there with Doron Lamb, so that will be a lot of fun to say the least.
I’ll talk to you guys next week.