Duke fans still recovering from Austin Rivers' decision to bolt for the NBA may be feeling a bit better today.
Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall will all declare for the NBA Draft, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams confirmed in a statement today. Combined with the graduation of center Tyler Zeller, the Tar Heels now lose the four players who played the most minutes per game for them this past season. Barnes, Zeller and Henson were North Carolina's top three scorers, while Marshall averaged nearly 10 assists per game and won the Bob Cousy award as the nation's top point guard.
The exodus of Tar Heels will leave a largely inexperienced team in Chapel Hill next season, with only Reggie Bullock, Dexter Strickland, James Michael McAdoo and P.J. Hairston as returning players who averaged more than 10 minutes per game this season. The news could possibly get worse, as McAdoo is reportedly considering leaving for the NBA as well, though he is still strongly leaning towards returning.
McAdoo and Hairston are both freshman, while Bullock is a sophomore and Strickland will be North Carolina's lone true senior next season. Strickland started a majority of the season at shooting guard before tearing his ACL in late January, when Bullock replaced him in the starting lineup.
The Tar Heels do bring in a strong recruiting class to replace their departed stars, though. Marcus Paige is considered the top point guard in the 2012 class, while frontcourt players Brice Johnson, J.P. Tokoto and Joel James are all ranked amongst ESPN's Top 100 prospects.
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