Tis the season!
Henson, a projected lottery pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, said he’ll have a decision on his plans for next year by Saturday. Teammate Harrison Barnes, who is all but guaranteed a top-five pick in the draft, will have fans wait just a few days longer.
“It’ll probably be in at least a week, week and a half or so,” Barnes said.
Obviously this contradicts Iowa radio host Marty Tirrell who was adamant the announcement was coming today and called Barnes returning a "fact." At this juncture he is still standing by his reports saying he was the first to break it. Yesterday on Twitter I commented that coaching searches have that one "guy" who claims to have exclusive inside knowledge but is woefully wrong. The same can be true of players' draft decisions. In the case of the NCSU search it is guy named Greg Swaim who has been wrong multiple times over now. In this case we have Tirrell who is wrong so far about the timing of the announcement or even that a decision has been made. That apparently has not deterred Tirrell who upped the ante even more this morning.
I will mow Coach Williams lawn by hand if I'm wrong on Harrison Barnes! He is returning to UNC...
I will say this. The rumor mill continues to trend in a positive direction with the newest rumor being John Henson's mother telling ESPN's Jay Williams at the McDonald's All-American game(where Henson's sister was playing) that her son would return. Seth Davis is also out there saying he is hearing the trio will return. Contrast this to 2008 when we heard everything under the sun and spent three months analyzing every spoken word from Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green. Heck, we even had that guy who claimed Lawson was meeting with agents at Outback Streakhouse in Durham. That time period was far wilder and nerve wracking than this process appears to be. Of course the fact they have moved the withdrawal date back to early May means players are making their decisions now as opposed to "testing the waters" and then deciding. We are being spared the possibility of these guys doing workouts and culling the web for articles about how they might be doing looking for a sign. Now they will make the decision and that will be it.
As for real information, Roy Williams told Dan Patrick this morning:
"We're going to meet with Tyler, John and Harrison this week. This week or next week we'll know."
Roy also said he would tell them to do what they want to do and he did not think they would drag the decision out. It is important to remember that UNC has a process which includes Roy gathering information from the NBA and meeting with players to discuss the findings. It is possible Barnes, Henson and Tyler Zeller already know what they are doing to do but they are availing themselves of the process offered by their coach. Meetings need to happen and if they are smart they do their due diligence with the information they receive. It is also possible they don't know and are still working through the decisions with their families.
My gut feeling is they all come back but would not be surprised is one or all left. There is no way of knowing for sure. I do think there is unfinished business they want to take care of and this is as tight knit a team as I have seen in awhile at UNC. It is almost like the decision to stay or go is being made with consideration to their teammates. We will see if that bears out. Of course just because Henson decides on Saturday does not mean it will get announced then. UNC would probably rather announce them all together so it could be another week or more before we know something official.
Be sure to read the link article above discussing the pick-up game. Henson, Barnes, Kendall Marshall and Leslie McDonald took one regular student and played all comers with predictable results. And for a little basketball fix here is video via the DTH.