DURHAM, NC - MARCH 03: Teammates Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels and John Henson #31 celebrate with Kendall Marshall #5 after a 88-70 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 3, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina. The North Carolina Tar Heels won the ACC regular season title with their win against the Duke Blue Devils. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
UNC has made the official announcement that Harrison Barnes, John Henson, and Kendall Marshall will all declare for the NBA draft, ending their Carolina careers. Barnes will have his jersey honored in the rafters as a result of his 2nd Team All-America award earlier this month. The other two won't unless the rules are changed to allow for the rather new Cousy award winners to qualify, as Kendall Marshall picked up that particular piece of hardware earlier today. Nevertheless, all three had accomplished most of what they could expect to in Chapel Hill short of winning a national championship, and in Marshall's case a drawerful of assist records, and all are expected to be drafted in the first round.
Personally, I expected Barnes and Henson to be NBA bound, although Marshall's departure caught me a bit off–guard. I was thinking his ability as a scorer was just begin to blossom, and an extra year would just enhance his standing. Even so, once you've won the country's most prestigious award for point guards, that's a prett good sign the next level will be interested in your skills.
Though we still haven't heard from James Michael McAdoo, his absence from this press release makes it more likely he'll be staying. If so, he'll be the primary interior weapon on a very depleted front court. He and Desmond Hubert will comprise the entirety of post players with experience. Who will play point guard will be an even dicier question. With Stilman White still presumably leaving on his Mormon mission, Dexter Strickland will be back in the role he never signed up for, with incoming freshman Marcus Paige probably being brought up to speed very quickly. UNC is also bring in two freshmen to play the post, Joel James and Brice Johnson, as well as J.P. Tokoto to play the wing in place of Barnes. And of course, there are now more scholarships available and still a few undecided high school seniors of note. Nevertheless, next year's team will be almost entirely different from this year's model, with a lot of unfamiliar faces and a much more perimeter-oriented offense. The ACC is wide open, with Duke and FSU as depleted as UNC, so we'll see what happens.