- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
Harrison Barnes, the No. 1 player in the ESPNU 100 who just signed to play for the North Carolina Tar Heels, has a unique combination of talent, size, IQ, skill and toughness. But what makes Barnes special is that aside from the physical gifts, he plays to win and has a never-ending desire to improve. He doesn't care about the numbers or honors or awards. He just wants to win. Whether it's in a drill, a shooting contest, scrimmage, conference game or state championship, he's giving everything he has every time. He's a competitor and helps makes everyone about him better.
On the floor, he competes on both ends, is always quick but not in a hurry, and displays a great ability to score from anywhere on the floor. He knocks down open 3s and mid-range pull-ups off the dribble consistently. He shoots over smaller defenders or will recognize a size advantage, post the smaller perimeter players up and score that way. He has great court awareness that he uses to select the most effective way to attack the defense. Even more impressive is how he plays the game with poise and passion. Always playing to win, he won't force bad plays and understands the big picture is to win not to just score points.
There is nothing not to like about Barnes' game. He's not flashy, just extremely productive. Last season, he 60 percent from the field and hit 42 percent of his 3-point shots. He is comfortable and can score from anywhere on the floor. He's a versatile player who rebounds on both ends and can lead the break. He can also defend on the perimeter and in the post when needed. UNC coach Roy Williams will love his versatility on both offense and defense because of the mismatches he can create.