After last week's announcement that John Henson and Tyler Zeller intended to stay in school and not enter the draft, UNC stated that Barnes would make a decision this week. Meanwhile, the Twitterverse has been alive with rumor and innuendo, most of it pointing in the direction of Barnes staying in Chapel Hill for another year.
Point zero of the Twitter craze pointing to Barnes returning is from Des Moines, Iowa sports radio host Marty Tirrell, who broke the news last year that Barnes would spurn presumed leader Duke for Carolina. Way back on March 29th, Tirrell tweeted that Barnes would return, and followed that up on April 3 that an announcement would be made the following Tuesday, which was a week ago today. He later said the Barnes announcement would be made on Monday, and yet we wait. To his credit, Tirrell stands by his pronouncement, saying he "will mow Coach Williams lawn by hand if I'm wrong on Harrison Barnes".
For all the internet scorn being heaped upon Tirrell for his less-than-Nostradamus-like precision, it may be taking this long to gather the requisite information and make an informed decision. The NBA labor situation is very fluid and for those who have already declared or seem likely to (Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, Josh Selby) there are others who may sit this one out. The more that sit out weakens the value of this year's draft, which in turn raises the value of Barnes. Barnes' stock seems to have risen since the end of the season to the point where he is almost always in a top-5 discussion.
As much as Barnes has been reported to see his work in Chapel Hill as unfinished and while his return would almost guarantee a preseason #1 ranking for UNC and install the Heels as a title favorite, the labor uncertainty in the NBA works both ways. If Barnes could be drafted in the top five, it might be a case of the timing being absolutely perfect to leave, his own personal wishes aside.
Of course my own selfish personal wishes are that Barnes returns to school, works on his handles, continues working towards his degree, and enjoys the college experience with a bunch of guys who really seem to like playing with each other while winning a title he will never have a chance to achieve if he leaves. On the other hand, I trust Roy Williams and the Carolina NBA family connection will provide Harrison and his mom the information they need to make the best decision for his family and his career. Besides, UNC will be a national title contender whether or not Barnes comes back; with a healthy Reggie Bullock and two legit high school All-Americans, Carolina can contend without Barnes.
Meanwhile, we continue to wait for the Black Falcon spotlight to shine over the Smith Center signaling the coming announcement.