WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- When
Barnes, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound wing who's Scout.com's No. 1-rated prospect in the Class of 2010, is more academically inclined than your typical elite basketball prospect -- an MBA mind in a blue-chipper's body. He is also aware that, in the business of basketball, it may be advantageous for him to leave North Carolina for the NBA before he can obtain either of those degrees -- and so, at the very least, he views his time in college as a networking opportunity. "I'll try to absorb as much as I can, talk to as many people as I can, develop as many relationships as I can," he says. "My hope is to maximize every moment I'm there."
His status as coveted recruit has already provided him with elite networking opportunities:
"I usually measure myself by what I achieve," Barnes said. "And Wooden just let me know that if you give your best, to become the best person you can, that's success. So I try to focus now on giving everything that I can be giving. Because even if I'm accomplishing the goals that I set out, if I'm not giving my best effort, then what does that mean?"
I witnessed Barnes giving at Paul's camp. On Day 1, in a suicide-sprint drill, Barnes outran every point guard other than Georgetown's
To say the Tar Heels struggled to score in '09-'10 would be putting it gently: They ranked 92nd in adjusted offensive efficiency after finishing in the top 10 each of the previous six years. Carolina has two NBA prospects on the interior in
Barnes is the rare wing player who has the combination of size, athleticism, and elegant shooting form from long-range. He's not
When I asked one of Barnes' soon-to-be rivals, Duke senior
That's not to say the defending-champion Dukies won't attack Barnes with full force on the court. Smith and teammate
Singler, who came to the ACC four years ago as a five-star wing out of Medford, Ore., said that if he had any advice to Barnes as highly touted rookie, it was to keep expanding his game as much as possible. "As a freshman, I realized pretty quickly," Singler said, "that things that worked in high school won't necessarily work at the next level."
In a mini-scrimmage the next day, I watched Barnes use one of his go-to moves from the prep summer circuit -- a jab, shot-fake, and right-handed drive -- against