Friday, March 30, 2012

Barnes, Henson And Marshall Headed To NBA

MARSHALL and HENSON (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Perhaps Chapel Hill’s new law prohibiting cell phone use while driving was the last straw...?

North Carolina said Thursday that Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall will enter the NBA draft, ending a two-year run in which the Tar Heels made deep NCAA tournament runs only to fall a game short of the Final Four each time.

“It’s a great day for three youngsters who are taking another step toward their ultimate goal of playing professional basketball,” coach Roy Williams said in a statement. “On a very small stage, it’s a sad day for me because I won’t get to coach them again. All Tar Heel fans will miss them greatly, as well.”

BARNES (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Henson was a freshman during Williams’ worst season as a head coach in 2010. Barnes arrived a year later as the nation’s No. 1 recruit, though it wasn’t until Marshall took over at point guard midway through that season that the Tar Heels reverted to national powerhouse form.

UNC lost to Kentucky in the Elite Eight last year, but Barnes, Henson and rising senior Tyler Zeller put off entering the draft for another shot at a championship despite being likely first-round picks.

The Tar Heels (32-6) were the preseason No. 1 and won the ACC regular-season championship for a second straight year, but they fell in the NCAA regional final again amid a dizzying run of injuries—including wrist injuries to both Henson and Marshall.

“I wish we’d have been able to bring our fans a national championship, but it wasn’t meant to be,” Henson said in a statement. “I am proud of what we accomplished, especially the last two years.”

Both Barnes and Henson said in their statements they planned to continue working to complete their undergraduate degrees.

Rick Bonnell of the Raleigh News & Observer predicts how all four will stack up in the upcoming NBA draft.

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