November 13, 2009
The No. 2 prospect in the country just committed, and he did it a little bit differently than most: with a Skype call.
Yes, the video messaging service usually reserved for college kids spending a semester overseas was used for a different purpose by Harrison Barnes, considered by some to be the best player in the class of 2010. Barnes used the service to reveal his much-awaited college choice, saying that he would be attending the school "of the coach I am about to Skype." After brief connection issues, North Carolina's Roy Williams -- surrounded by the rest of the Tar Heels, hunched over a laptop -- came on the other line.
Barnes' decision makes plenty of sense: He's a 6-foot-8 swingman whose game will be utilized very well in UNC's push-the-tempo attack. Add that to the allure of North Carolina basketball in general -- Barnes might already have Michael Jordan in his Blackberry contacts -- and the decision isn't all that hard to parse.
At the same time, Barnes's decision in effect causes him to turn his back on his hometown, Ames, Iowa, which has been fearing this day for a while. Barnes considered the Cyclones among his top three final schools. His mother works there; his father played there; and Barnes played his high school hoops with Iowa State coach Greg McDermott's son. Whether or not Barnes wants to admit it, he just turned his back on his hometown. Heck, he turned his back on all of Iowa.
Barnes had a choice: Be a god locally or a name nationally. Barnes chose the latter. And he did so with a well-considered speech and an unconventional, Internet-based video messaging technology. College basketball fans, welcome to 2010.