As you already know, Duke has made five offers in the class of 2010. This is a departure from the way they have done things in the past, meaning they have adjusted to the times. While the offers are firm, Duke is still keeping eyes on some other kids, but we’ll talk about that later.
[private]Harrison Barnes holds one of those offers and the Blue Devil Nation got the latest from him last evening. The interview was approached from a national stand point to ensure accurate answers. As you will see, this one will go on for awhile and there are no true leaders at this time. So, enjoy the interview and don’t read too much into anything. FWIW, he really seemed to enjoy the conversation, so I hope that translates in this long and in depth interview. Needless to day, we will not need to talk to him anytime soon for he was very open.
You were in Orlando recently for the AAU Nationals. How did you play there? Was it a good tournament for you?
Yes it was. We played well as a team and I also played well. We made it to the Elite before bowing out.
You play for All Iowa Attack Black, right?
Let me make sure I have the general background information correct. You play for Ames Senior High and are 6-6, 195?
I do play for Ames High and the figures are close enough. I am around 190 now.
And you averaged about 17 ppg and 8 rebounds as a sophomore?
(Jokingly) Okay, I’m doing pretty good here so far.
Yes. (while laughing)
Okay, back to Orlando. I suppose you saw a lot of coaches in the stands?
Yes there was. There were a lot of coaches which offered me a scholarship out there along with other schools that are showing interest.
So, there has been a lot of new schools come in of late?
The last time I checked, I think you had eleven offers? Is there more than that?
Right now it is bumped up to like twenty. Do you want me to read them off to you?
Sure, that’d be great.
Off the top of my head. I think I have a list right here. (seemed as if someone were handing or writing a list for him for he spoke the teams slowly). DePaul, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Oklahoma, USC, Tennessee, Texas, TCU, UCLA … umh. I think that’s it.
Okay. I think I had seen somewhere where UNC and Duke were looking at you. They haven’t offered?
Oh! Duke! They have offered. North Carolina has shown interest but they have not offered.
With such a list of schools with deep traditions, do you think the local schools might be a little upset wanting to keep you in state?
(Laughs) I don’t think they’re upset, but happy for me. (meaning Iowa State) You get pressure. Some of the fans will say you should go to school “A” or school “B.” I think in the end I picked another school they’d be okay with that and would understood I was doing what’s best for me.
Are you from Iowa your whole life?
Born and raised in Ames.
Being in the backyard of Iowa State, were they your favorite team?
Actually I grew up watching the NBA.
Speaking of the NBA, do you have aspirations to go to the league one day?
You are just 16 and have two years of high school ball left. Have you thought how long you might stay in college? Would you be a one and done guy?
Right now that’s so far off because the league is such a different animal than high school. I mean I haven’t done anything at the college level yet, so ….
How do you keep yourself grounded. Scout has you number three in your class, Rivals five, ESPN seven … That’s a lot of hype. Is it hard to keep your mind grounded despite soaring in the rankings?
Not number one! (laughing)
(Laughing back) Okay, so number one is the deal now, if you hit that we will have to go back to that question one day.
Well, what I find that keeps me grounded is that there is always good basketball players no matter where you go, Whether it’s the gym down the street or at the national level. And I want to be the best, so I work hard every day trying to be the best I can be.
So, your goal is to be the best, number one?
Ah, in high school … yes, I would like to be number one.
Let’s get into recruiting a little bit. I understand you will make your decision after your junior year? Does that still hold true?
I will take my official visits and will decide shortly after that.
Have you been on or set up any unofficial visits?
At this point in time, I have not been on any unofficial(s). I’ve been to Iowa of course. I’ve been to the USC Elite Camp.
Have any schools talked to you about setting up unoffcials? I don’t think you can take officials, until what, your rising senior year?
Yes, that is correct. My Mom and I are discussing when we might can go out and see some schools. We’re discussing that.
When will you narrow down the list?
(spoke carefully) That is not a priority right now. There are so many things that need to be done, like finding out more about the schools.
You talk a lot of your Mom, so your parents will play a big role in your decision?
It’s mostly just family, my Mom and I. She says no matter where I go she will support me 100%.
You have offers from as far west as UCLA and as far southeast as Florida. Would she ever consider moving to follow you or is she entrenched in Iowa due to family and having lived there her entire life?
She will stay in Iowa no matter where I choose to go. That fact that my sister (I will keep her name to myself) will be in middle school going into high school. So she doesn’t feel like she would want to interrupt her education.
During the LeBron James Skills Academy, you sort of blew up and got a lot of eyes turning your way. What was the experience like there? Did you get to meet LeBron?
It was a good experience. I got to meet LeBron and Chris Paul and (emphatic) I got to go out and play against some of the nations best. It was an opportunity to go against great players and measure yourself against them.
You will be playing in the Nike Global Challenge, right?
I will and it runs the 7th through the 11th. It’s supposedly the top thirty players that were at the LaBron Camp and we will be divided into four teams. We are the United States and we will play against foreign teams.
Would it interest you one day in playing for the USA? The Olympics are getting ready to start … Duke is recruiting you, is it kind of cool watching Coach K?
(laughs) Yes, it is, it is. It’s a great honor just to have known him let alone have him recruit me.
So you guys have talked before?
Yes I have.
Would that interest you playing for Team USA one day?
Yes it would. Getting to the league is my goal, but playing for Team USA, that would be a great honor.
You speak of getting to the league, Would that mean you would look for a team with a coach that has a track record of getting players prepared or have success in numbers?
Yes and no. I would like to go to a school that sets me up for the NBA, but that wouldn’t be one of my main issues. My priorities are academics and fitting in well with the basketball team.
Have you given any thought as to what you might like to take in college at your young age? Is there anything that interests you?
Business Administration and Finance.
You were on the track team, competing in the high jump, long jump … ?
(laughing) You know your stuff. I have been into track before basketball.
Okay, so that’s kind of when you started your athletic endeavors, huh?
That’s correct. I started track in about the third grade. I didn’t really get involved in basketball until aboutthe fifth grade. If I had to choose, it would be basketball. I do run track. I did so this past season and will likely continue to through high school.
How did you get your start in basketball? Is it something that just happened? Was there a mentor who said something like I think you will do well in hoops?
My Father played at Iowa State. His name was Ron Harris.
Okay! (jokingly) So there are really some Iowa State ties, huh? You have your Dad there, grew up in the backyard, your little sister is probably saying, brother don’t leave me … I mean you have to be the pride of Iowa.
My sister is okay with where ever I go.(Laughing)
What Head Coaches have you talked to?
Head Coaches would be, Coach K, Coach Donovan, Coach Self, Coach Floyd, Coach Williams at Maryland, Coach Wainwright, Coach Gillespie, Coach Webber …
Wow! That’s a who’s who. Kentucky has really been pushing hard from what I’ve heard. I think I heard that Jeff Berstrom??? had some ties to Iowa State?
Yes, he was working with the aerotech program for one year at Iowa State and then went to Kentucky.
(I then asked about some assistants who were supposedly lead recruiters which he confirmed.) So, what will you do the rest of the summer?
When I am home I just rest my body and hang out with friends. It’s been a long season and I haven’t had a lot of time here with my family.
I can only imagine. I’m sure your Mom is happy to finally see you.
Actually, she travels to all my tournaments with me.
Oh she does? That’s fantastic she is able to do that. Is it nice having her on the road with you?
Yes, she is always there for me.
So both of you are well traveled for the AAU circuit is all over the place. Were there any pars of the country you really liked?
Yes we have. (laughing) We have been on the road constantly, so we’ve had little time to sit back and reflect.
How are your academics? Every thing I have heard about you says that you are very well rounded not just on the court but off.
I have a 4.39. (laughing)
That’s pretty good!
Oh, so you want to be number one in academics to?
I would strive for the perfect score, but I came up way short.
How are you dealing with the media end of the process. I am sure you are getting a lot of calls. Does it become tiresome? I know sometimes they can pound the phone lines.
Not yet. Right now it’s something I can manage. My Mom is okay with it so far. She wants what’s best for me. I get about two or three calls a day.
What position do you actually play in high school?
Actually, I play everywhere.
That’s what I thought. That’s often what goes on at the high school level.
Yes! I play a forward to kind of a wing to bringing the ball up the floor, just where ever.
What do you envision yourself playing in college?
The two or the three.
You are sixteen and 6-6. Do you still feel as if you are growing?
I think I might grow about two or three more inches. I have grown about two or three inches in a little over a year.
You have a bright future and I greatly appreciate your time and have enjoyed talking to you. I will be following your progress throughout your career. Tell your Mom thank you for letting me talk with you and the best of luck to you throughout your career.
Thank you! I enjoyed talking to you as well.[/private]