Har­ri­son, Hen­son, Mar­shall bid farewell to UNC, await NBA draft

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY AARON BEARD

North Carolina’s un­der­class­men de­cided they wouldn’t put off their goal of play­ing in the NBA any longer.

The school said Thurs­day that Har­ri­son Barnes, John Hen­son and Ken­dall Mar­shall will en­ter the draft, end­ing a two-year run in which the Tar Heels made deep NCAA tour­na­ment runs only to fall a game short of the Final Four each time.

The school didn’t state whether the three planned to hire an agent in its re­lease an­nounc­ing the depar­tures, though it ap­pears they’re in the draft to stay.

“It’s a great day for three young­sters who are tak­ing an­other step to­ward their ul­ti­mate goal of play­ing pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball,” coach Roy Wil­liams said in a state­ment. “On a very small stage, it’s a sad day for me be­cause I won’t get to coach them again. All Tar Heel fans will miss them greatly, as well.”

Hen­son was a fresh­man dur­ing Wil­liams’ worst sea­son as a head coach in 2010. Barnes ar­rived a year later as the na­tion’s No. 1 re­cruit, though it wasn’t un­til Mar­shall took over at point guard mid­way through that sea­son that the Tar Heels took off.

UNC lost to Ken­tucky in a re­gional final that year, but Barnes, Hen­son and ris­ing se­nior Tyler Zeller put off en­ter­ing the draft for an­other shot at a cham­pi­onship de­spite be­ing likely first-round picks.

The Tar Heels (32-6) were the pre­sea­son No. 1 and won the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence reg­u­lar-sea­son cham­pi­onship for a sec­ond straight year, but they fell in the NCAA re­gional final again amid a dizzy­ing run of in­juries — in­clud­ing wrist in­juries to Hen­son and Mar­shall.

“I wish we’d have been able to bring our fans a na­tional cham­pi­onship, but it wasn’t meant to be,” Hen­son said in a state­ment.

Barnes and Hen­son said in their state­ments they planned to con­tinue work­ing to com­plete their un­der­grad­u­ate de­grees.

Barnes, a 6-foot-8 sopho­more, av­er­aged about 17 points to lead the team. Hen­son, a 611 ju­nior, av­er­aged about 14 points, 10 re­bounds and three blocks, and was a two-time ACC De­fen­sive Player of the Year. Both were ALL-ACC first-team picks.

Mar­shall, a 6-4 sopho­more, won the Cousy Award pre­sented to the na­tion’s top col­lege point guard ear­lier Thurs­day and set the ACC’S sin­gle- sea­son as­sists record. Throw in the grad­u­at­ing Zeller, a 7footer who was ACC player of the year, and those four starters ac­counted for 66 per­cent of the team’s scor­ing and 59 per­cent of its re­bound­ing.

While Barnes and Hen­son have been con­sid­ered big­ger NBA prospects, Mar­shall’s de­par­ture could be the big­gest loss con­sid­er­ing how he flaw­lessly ran Wil­liams’ fast-paced of­fense. The pass-first point guard also upped his scor­ing late in the year and reached dou­ble-fig­ures in his last six games to im­prove his draft prospects.

“It’s been the great­est two years of my life,” Mar­shall said in a state­ment. “I have al­ways put the team be­fore my­self, and I am ex­tremely proud of what we’ve ac­com­plished.”

His value was never more ap­par­ent than when he missed the Tar Heels’ last two games af­ter break­ing his right wrist.

The Tar Heels barely beat 13thseeded Ohio in over­time de­spite a sea­son-high 24 turnovers the pro­gram’s most in an NCAA game in 24 years in the round of 16. They didn’t man­age a field goal in the last 51/ min­utes and were outscored 12-0 to close the 80-67 loss to Kansas in Sun­day’s re­gional final.

As for Barnes, he en­tered each year as a pre­sea­son all-amer­i­can, but for the most part, he never quite lived up to the lofty ex­pec­ta­tions.

Armed with a pol­ished all-around game but no clear go-to move, he over­came a slow start to his fresh­man year with some clutch late-game shoot­ing and a 40-point show­ing against Clem­son in the ACC tour­na­ment. He seemed more pre­pared to han­dle the ex­pec­ta­tions as a sopho­more, but was dom­i­nant only in stretches and faded badly late in the year.

Barnes av­er­aged 14 points on 36 per­cent shoot­ing in the last 10 games. He shot a com­bined 8 for 30 over­all and 2 for 14 from 3-point range in his final two games with­out Mar­shall.

Ken­dall Mar­shall

Har­ri­son Barnes

John Hen­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.