Iowa native Harrison Barnes announced to a national ESPNU audience that he will be attending North Carolina in the fall of 2010. Duke was a favorite to land the services of the the player who, according to Scout.com, is the best player in the Class of 2010.
The senior announced his decision to a packed Ames High School gymnasium in front of his friends and family. As a junior, the forward averaged 19.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and led his team to an undefeated season that ended with a state title.
During the press conference, Barnes cited the balance of academics and basketball as a major reason he decided to join the Tar Heel program. After maintaining a great deal of suspense during a speech in which he thanked his community, the media, family and friends, the forward told the crowd he would Skype the coach of the team that he would join next year; when Barnes connected with Roy Williams and the entire North Carolina team, the highly publicized recruitment had finally ended.
To the dismay of Duke fans, Barnes won't be catching passes from top Blue Devil recruit Kyrie Irving, the No. 2 point guard in the Class of 2010 who committed on Oct. 22.
Barnes' commitment to the Tar Heels marks the end of an intense recruiting battle marked more by speculation than information. The forward kept his thoughts about the schools that were recruiting him very private which made making predictions especially difficult. In an article for Sports Illustrated, college basketball analyst and former Chronicle sports columnist Seth Davis spoke to a number of sources earlier today in an effort to uncover which school Barnes would choose, but he ultimately found information hard to come by:
Since it is against NCAA rules for coaches to comment on high school players before they sign a National Letter of Intent, I can't tell you whom I spoke with, but here's a sampling of the comments I got from people who had, shall we say, direct knowledge of Barnes's recruitment:
"He's the greatest poker player of all time."
"I have no idea what he's going to do. Nobody does. If anyone tells you they know where he's going, they're guessing."
"I've never seen a situation where a family kept things this close to the vest. I'm going to find out the same way you are."
With Barnes heading to North Carolina, the Blue Devils' current recruiting class consists of Irving, Joshua Hairston and Tyler Thornton. Additionally, Seth Curry will be eligible for the 2010-2011 season after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules.
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