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Tar Heels in the Pros: Harrison Barnes

The University of North Carolina has a long-standing tradition of sending its basketball players to the NBA. A breeding ground for sensational talents such as Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Rasheed Wallace, and Vince Carter, UNC has produced a star more recently in Harrison Barnes.

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A two-year member of Roy Williams’ program, Harrison Barnes entered the NBA draft in 2012 after his sophomore season at UNC. Since then, the standout shooting guard has been a starter for the Golden State Warriors in two of his three years in the league. In his second season with the Warriors, Barnes only started 24 of their 78 games, a change that he did not acclimate to very well.

Barnes at Cameron Indoor (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Barnes at Cameron Indoor (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

“After my rookie season I felt like we had a good year, I felt like we could have kept the same guys and continued doing what we were doing. We just made some changes and it was just a different experience for me because I had come to the league and I was used to playing a certain way my rookie year, and to come and play a different role and play with a different unit and all that was why I struggled statistically,” Barnes recently told NBA.com.

Barnes’ statistical averages did take a hit in the 2013-2014 season coming off the bench; his field goal and three-point percentages dropped in his sophomore slump.

This season, his third, has by far been Barnes’ best. He started all 82 of the Warriors’ regular season games; he shot 48% from the field as well as 41% from three-point range, and took care of the ball, averaging less than one turnover per game in the regular season.

The rising star has not forgotten his collegiate experience, saying how his wish growing up was to play at North Carolina.

“That was a dream to play at Carolina. I remember I used to tell kids when I was 14 or 15 years old, I was like ‘I’m gonna play on the big stage, I’m going to go play at Carolina’ and these kids used to laugh me out of the gym. ‘Come on man, stop it. North Carolina? That’s the big stage.’ And that was always something I dreamed for and worked for, North Carolina was always the spot for me,” Barnes says.

Barnes has quickly found himself yet another family outside of his home state of Iowa in the Bay Area of northern California. The Golden State fans there have embraced him and have even given him a nickname: “The Senator.”

“That came from Jim Barnett [Warriors TV color analyst],” Barnes says. “I think we were just doing like a little Q&A interview my rookie year and he was like ‘You know you’re always going into politics and your answers are always so well-parsed I’m gonna start calling you “The Senator”,’ and I thought he was joking but he kept calling me that and calling me. Now every time he sees me he says ‘How’re you doing, Senator?’.”

Barnes has been known for his calm and often stately demeanor, even during his time at UNC, but his competitive side is no secret, either. As an important starter for the best team in the NBA, Barnes’ reputation grows with each passing game. Along with stars like Klay Thompson and MVP Stephen Curry, the Warriors have their eyes set on the highest of goals: winning an NBA championship.

Barnes at the 2014 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest (LA Times)

Barnes at the 2014 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest (LA Times)

“You know obviously it’s a very big accomplishment to win the division, that’s something we didn’t do obviously my first two years here. So, it’s a big goal, big milestone but it’s still a long journey to where we want to go,” Barnes says.

Starting their second round series this week against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Warriors are hoping to move on to the Western Conference Finals and face either the Houston Rockets or Los Angeles Clippers.

Next week on “Tar Heels in the Pros,” we’ll feature an ageless wonder – Vince Carter of the Memphis Grizzlies.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-pros-harrison-barnes/

Duke’s Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood Declare For NBA Draft

Duke freshman Jabari Parker is entering the NBA draft.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski says in a statement Thursday it was “an honor for us to have him in our program.” In an essay posted on SI.com, Parker says the NBA offers him the best chance to develop both as a player and off the court.

There is a strong chance Parker could be the No. 1 overall pick in June. The All-American was the highest-scoring freshman in Duke history and became the first freshman to be selected team MVP since Johnny Dawkins in 1983.

He is the fifth Blue Devils player to enter the draft after his freshman season, joining Corey Maggette, Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers.

Duke sophomore Rodney Hood also announced Thursday that he would forego his junior and senior years and enter the NBA draft. According to SI.com, Hood is a top-15 draft pick.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/acc/dukes-jabari-parker-rodney-hood-declare-nba-draft/

Bobcats Select Indiana C Zeller With No. 4 Pick

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Charlotte Bobcats have selected Indiana center Cody Zeller with the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft.

Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said earlier in the week the Bobcats needed a big man and the 7-foot, 240-pound Zeller should provide help on the boards.

Zeller averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds last season as a sophomore for the Hoosiers. He finished as Indiana’s career record holder in field goal percentage, shooting 59.1 percent from the floor.

Two Hoosiers were picked in the top four in the draft. Victor Oladipo was selected second overall by Orlando.

Charlotte is 28-120 over the past two seasons and has never won a playoff game.

The Bobcats chose Zeller over two other available centers – Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Maryland’s Alex Len.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/bobcats-select-indiana-c-zeller-with-no-4-pick/

LeBron Leads Heat To Second Straight Title

MIAMI (AP) – LeBron James had 37 points and 12 rebounds and the Miami Heat repeated as champions with a 95-88 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

Dwyane Wade added 23 points and 10 rebounds and Shane Battier scored 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting from 3-point range for Miami. James made 5 of 10 3s, all the while hounding Spurs star Tony Parker on defense to make the Heat the first back-to-back champs since the Lakers in 2009-10.

Tim Duncan had 24 points and 12 rebound for the Spurs, who were trying to become the first road team to win a finals Game 7 since Washington in 1978. Kawhi Leonard added 19 points and 16 rebounds.

Mario Chalmers scored 14 for Miami.

San Antonio lost for the first time in five finals appearances.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/lebron-leads-heat-to-second-straight-title/

Duncan, Spurs Collapse Down the Stretch

MIAMI (AP) – Tim Duncan was delivering a vintage performance, and the San Antonio Spurs were streaking to the franchise’s fifth championship.

Then the 37-year-old forward ran out of gas, and the Spurs collapsed down the stretch like they so rarely have before.

Duncan had 30 points and 14 rebounds in the first three quarters, but was scoreless and grabbed just three boards in the fourth quarter and overtime of San Antonio’s 103-100 overtime loss to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night.

The Spurs led by 10 points at the start of the fourth quarter and by five with 28 seconds to play. But Duncan missed all five of his shots in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Game 7 is on Thursday night in Miami.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/duncan-spurs-collapse-down-the-stretch/

Spurs’ Green sets NBA Finals record for 3-pointers

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green set an NBA Finals record for 3-pointers Sunday with 25 against the Miami Heat.

Green broke Ray Allen’s 2008 mark of 22 in a finals series with his fourth 3-pointer of the night early in the third quarter of Game 5. He later added two more and finished with 24 points, shooting 6 of 10 from long range.

It was the fourth time that the once-unheralded swingman has hit at least four 3-pointers this series.

Green is shooting 66 percent from 3-point range this series after breaking the record. He’ll try to add to his total in Game 6 on Tuesday night in Miami.

Allen, who now plays for the Heat, set the previous mark as a member of the Boston Celtics.

The Spurs beat the Heat 114-104 on Sunday.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/spurs-green-sets-nba-finals-record-for-3-pointers/

Two Former Tar Heels Earn All-Rookie Honors

CHAPEL HILL – Two of UNC’s 2012 NBA draft picks can be glad they made the jump to the next level for the honors they pulled in their first year on the professional hardcourt.

Golden State’s Harrison Barnes was named to this year’s NBA All-Rookie First Team; Cleveland’s Tyler Zeller was named to the All-Rookie Second Team.

Golden State took down Denver in the first round of the playoffs and is down 3-2 to San Antonio in the conference semifinals. Barnes is contributing more than 25 minutes a game and averaging nearly ten points and four rebounds per game. He’s hit a stride in the postseason and is averaging nearly 17 points per contest in almost 40 minutes per game.

Zeller’s Cavaliers didn’t make it to the post season with their 24-58 record. However the former Tar Heel averaged just short of eight points per game in 26 minutes of action per contest. He also pulled down an average of nearly six rebounds per game.

The two other 2012 draftees, John Henson and Kendall Marshall have been getting some fair playing time and contributing well to their respective teams. Henson scored six points for Milwaukee per contest this season in more than 13 minutes a game. He too got to see the postseason, but not for long as Miami swept the series 4-0.

Marshall got some quality minutes at the point for Phoenix, which finished last in the Western Conference at 25-57. He averaged just more than 14.5 minutes, three points, and three assists per outing.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/two-former-tar-heels-earn-all-rookie-honors/