Mar 29, 2012, 4:52 PM EDT
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.