By Adam McGill
After another shortened season by the Tar Heels, three of their star players decided to declare for the 2012 NBA Draft. Sophomore Harrison Barnes, junior power forward John Henson, and sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall all decided to leave school early and bring their game to the next level. The power trio joins senior Tyler Zeller in the draft, as all four potentially have first round grades.
Harrison Barnes is an outstanding athlete and is currently projected as the eighth best talent in the draft according to Chad Ford’s big board on ESPN. He will likely play the small forward position at the next level, and is one of the best young prospects to come out in years. The first-team All-ACC selection averaged over 17 points a contest this year and really matured as a jump shooter. Barnes will be a star in the NBA sooner rather than later and will easily be a top-five pick in this year’s draft.
John Henson has had some injury concerns throughout his career at UNC, with some back and knee injuries, not to mention his lingering wrist injury that cost him three games during the Tar Heels’ lost journey to the championship. The forward is a lanky six-feet-ten, but will need to bulk up to compete against the power forwards in the NBA. However, the “Muppet Master” has outstanding athleticism, which is worth a top 20 pick alone. He would be a great selection for a team like Milwaukee or Atlanta.
The team’s point guard, Kendall Marshall, has looked like a very young, promising floor general. His 9.7 assists per game was good for second in the entire nation, trailing only behind Scott Machado. Marshall is amazing at locating his teammates on the move and the underclassmen really improved his shot in the last couple months. Marshall will be the top point guard in the whole draft and can walk into offense to contribute.
The foursome, including Zeller, are not the only ones vying for a chance to make a professional roster, as freshman James Michael McAdoo is also entertaining the idea of coming out early. JMM saw a significant increase in playing time with Henson’s wrist injury and has really made a name for himself in the last month. JMM is a physical low-post player, who will likely return to campus to inherit a team where he is the star.