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North Carolina’s Barnes, Henson, Marshall enter NBA draft

Mar 29, 2012, 4:52 PM EDT

North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Barnes slaps hands with teammate Stilman White in the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks in their men's NCAA Midwest Regional basketball game in St. Louis Reuters

North Carolina is going to be a very different team next year as four-fifths of its starting lineup will be in in the NBA.

John Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall all will leave the university as underclassmen and enter the NBA draft, North Carolina has announced. (The fourth starter to leave is senior Tyler Zeller.)

There is no real surprise here, all three are underclassmen are considered solid first round picks, with Barnes and Henson in the lottery and Marshall on the fringe. It was expected they would throw their names into the draft.

Barnes almost left after his freshman year (he was considered a top five pick last year) but returned to have an up-and-down season that culminated in some uninspiring play in the NCAA Tournament. He can shoot and has a smooth game, plus he can defend (although there are questions how well he can do that against the elite athletes he will face at the next level. DraftExpress has the versatile small forward now going No. 7 overall.

Henson, the very athletic 6’11” power forward (who is a bit raw on offense), is ranked right behind him at No. 8 by the same site. Marshall, the point guard who had to miss his final college games due to a broken wrist, is ranked No. 14. (Zeller is slotted to go No. 10 by DraftExpress.)

That is four potential lottery picks leaving in one year. Michael Jordan may be almost as unhappy as Roy Williams.

  1. cltjump - Mar 29, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    No, no, no, no, no, dammit…..
    MJ. Please draft Marshall……………….. On second thought, I really wouldn’t wish it on him….

  2. mempusa - Mar 29, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Barnes will get chewed up in the NBA. He should have returned to UNC to mature another year.

  3. thebigkahuna23 - Mar 29, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    I think Barnes will be a fisher type guy with a rondo smoothness to his game that will develop. He’ll be a solid point guard for a long time.

    • hdanger10 - Mar 29, 2012 at 7:38 PM

      Barnes is a 6’8″ small forward. Not quite the player of Fisher or Rondo.

    • jjordannba - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      Hopefully he meant Marshall

  4. glink123 - Mar 29, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Barnes is a SF, not a PG. And KH is spot-on his assessment of Barnes. He’s lanky at 6’8″ 210, and needs to add another 20 pounds of muscle, something he could’ve done with another year at UNC. He’s a great scorer, but seems to always be coasting along. He doesn’t seem to have at attack-mode gear (yet). As far as basketball IQ goes, he’s at the top of this year’s draft class. He’ll be a solid 15 ppg 6 rpg player in the NBA. Think Cedric Ceballos.

  5. lakerluver - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    @thebigkahuna23 has been smokin too much of that good Hawaiian bud!!

  6. ndirishfan1 - Mar 30, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Each one of these guys has a chance to have a lengthy career in the NBA. Marshall’s floor vision and offensive IQ will make him valuable, Barnes can shoot it (though he isn’t the go-to guy he was projected to be), Henson’s shot blocking, rebounding and new found (decent) outside touch make him much more valuable, and Zeller’s ability to shoot the 15 to 18 footer gives him a skill most bigs don’t have. Injuries killed their collective hopes in college but the future is bright for this crew.

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