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Anxiously awaiting Harrison Barnes decision

Harrison Barnes is set to make his collegiate choice on Friday - BDN Photo
Harrison Barnes is set to make his collegiate choice on Friday - BDN Photo

Durham, N.C. – Can you remember the last time that the potential signing of a prospect overshadowed the start of the regular season, not to mention home opener for Duke Basketball?  Quit searching, for it has never happened, but one must keep in mind that this is Harrison Barnes and he’s become a household name not only in the Triangle [Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill], but in the nation.

Barnes of course is the consensus top rated player in the Class of 2010 and his addition can really sway the balance of power on the college basketball landscape.  Come 4:20 eastern standard time tomorrow afternoon, when Barnes makes his destination known; the staff and fan base of one school is going to be riding on cloud nine while the five contenders will go into hiding until the initial shock is over.

The suspense is already turning various school sites message boards into a cesspool of rumors and propaganda.  Yet many fans hang on to everything they hear trying to fit together pieces of supposed inside information to give them an early answer.  Never mind, that these claims are coming from anonymous posters, it doesn’t seem to matter in the frenzied world of recruitniks [a reference to recruiting fanatics].

It looks as if Barnes will actually announce his decision rather than some “need of the scoop” media types blowing his day in the sun.  You can rest assured that media types are making calls to all channels in an effort to get said scoop as I type and they’ll stop at nothing, including trying to pick the losing coaches.

Barnes in action - copyright BDN Photo
Barnes in action - copyright BDN Photo

If my sources are true, Barnes will not call or contact any of the opposing coaches with concerns to his decision, save to thank them for recruiting him.  IOW, Barnes will make the coaches wait as well, or will he?

Barnes day in the sun will continue after his decision in that this recruiting battle  is destined to be talked about by many.  I mean, can you hear Dick Vitale saying, “The amazing Harrison Barnes signed with the …… baby!  Watch out, he’s the second coming …”

Okay, it may not go quite like that, but you get the picture in that Harrison Barnes is the most hyped prospect since LeBron James skipped college to go straight to the pro’s.

Despite the comparisons with James with concern to hype, Barnes is a kid who is big on education and he seems to be a kid that easily fits in.  What I am trying to say is that Barnes could well stay in college more than just one season.

Duke started recruiting Barnes in the summer of 2008 and they had an offer out there early, but Kansas was the first school other than hometown Iowa State to get involved in his recruiting.  UCLA wasn’t far behind, nor was Oklahoma.   UNC got in late but there are many indications that they made up a lot of ground in a short time.

Depending on who you trust, the Barnes spin mill has him going to four schools on his list of six.  UCLA and Oklahoma have become the dark horses, while Iowa State is hanging out of respect, a Barnes trait.

North Carolina fans and their players seem confident that Barnes is theres and that Michael Jordan served as a trump card.  Kansas is proported to be the choice with concern to location and allowing the family to stay in the area.

Duke?  Well, I cannot speak for the assumed rumors and assumptions above, but I can tell you how Duke’s recruitment of Barnes has gone from my vantage.

The Blue Devils had more visits than any other school save Kansas. Coach Kryzewski has been the front and center lead man for Barnes.  It is believed that the two have formed a sound relationship and word is that he gets along with the players both current and coming.

Duke has been up front with Barnes throughout the process and they have made no secret he was their target from day one.  It’s also obvious that Duke fans are hanging on the result of this one for they too are deeply involved with the outcome.

All of the schools offer a great opportunity for Barnes, but it isn’t hard to see that the Devils have a plan and that Barnes is a vital part of their future plans.

In closing may I suggest you brace yourselves for even more late breaking rumors.  At Blue Devil Nation, we do not have public message boards, instead opting for a members only forum.  But even there, we have multiple Barnes  threads with as many as 30,000 views.

Make no mistake, fans are hanging by a thread and anxiously awaiting Barnes decision.

To discuss the Harrison Barnes recruitment and get our feel for the outcome, join Blue Devil Nation Premium for full site access.

Harrison Barnes has been consistent throughout the recruiting process

The Duke staff wants to work with Harrison Barnes - BDN Photo
The Duke staff wants to work with Harrison Barnes - BDN Photo

My original plan was to run all of the interviews we have done with Harrison Barnes for Blue Devil Nation Premium [subscription service] on our free board this week.  After reading Barnes comments from eight different interviews, we decided to just break it down for you in that his answers have been incredibly consistent.

Despite the fact that names like Duke, Kansas, Oklahoma and UNC are some of college hoops best and that they are all in the running for Barnes services, the young man did not grow up watching college basketball.  He was instead reared on NBA basketball and that is where he learned a lot of his skills.

That means he didn’t really understand the Duke-UNC rivalry unti this past year and that places like the Dean Dome and Cameron Indoor Stadium were all new to him.

BDN covered Barnes during seven AAU events and we personally saw the coveted prosepect play in 24 or more games since the first time we saw him.  That first time was during the NBAPA Top 100 Camp in 2008.  Up until that time Barnes had played with All Iowa Attack and they quite simply did not attend the major events.

That led Barnes to start playing with Howard Pulley [Minnesota] and that allowed the media types and scouts to see what all the hype was about.  Howard Pulley is in a rebulding mode, so Barnes would pretty much carry the load, but he is more than willing to do that anytime, any place, any where.

BDN has learned and seen firsthand that Barnes will not back down from a challenge and that his confidence is rarely shaken.  Even when tired Barnes leaves every ounce of energy on the court no matter what the situation.  There were a couple of occasions where Barnes would handle the ball during crunch time during this past seasons NBAPA Top 100 Camp.

Each time the best prospects in the land would clear out for him and each time Barnes finished the deal against talented competition.  But Barnes is more than just a scorer.  He is always around the ball and plays to his teammates as much as possible.  Observers would have seen more of this had Barnes played with better teammates on the AAU circuit.

Anyway, back to the interviews and Barnes consistency for it could well be telling come Friday.  Barnes has maintained since day one that he would not make a decision until he had made all of his visits.  Guess what?  He took all of them.  You see, Barnes is methodical in everything he does.

Unlike some kids his age, Barnes seems to be an old soul in that his demeanor is always professional.  During all of my views on and off the court, Barnes is always on his best behavior and you never see him, cutting up in an animated way.  He is aware of his surroundings and seems tuned in to what he wants.

When sorting through the numerous interview questions it became clear that Barnes has stuck to his word in most every way.  He’s not the type of kid who’ll rush into anything without disecting all of the facts from fiction and evaluating the pro’s and con’s. That’s why he took each and every visit.

The one thing that has changed in his recruitment is that the Barnes camp decided to speak through certain media outlets where he has kept a diary.  As of a couple of months ago, Barnes would not take calls from the numerous schools sites and he refused to talk about any of the details of his visits.

I have dealt with many kids during similar processes and I can tell you that Harrison Barnes has a good poker face and anyone who claims they have penetrated that are fooling themselves.

Maybe that’s why the makers of Prozac are apt to get a boom in their business come Friday, for many a fan will have been absorbed by rumors and supposed leanings that change every ten minutes on the Internet.

I mean, some depression is guaranteed, especially if Barnes chooses Duke or UNC for that rivaly is unmatched in collegiate sports.

But the bottom line is that this decision will likely stay a secret until the moment he announces.  While that may be tedious for our instant gratificatin society that wants to know it all right now, it’s kind of refreshing.  I mean, when is the last time a player got his day to shine in the light at his bequest?

Blue Devil Nation will have more on Barnes in the coming hours, so stay tuned.  For more on Barnes, join Blue Devil Nation Premium and discuss the matter on the fastest growing premium message board around.  Once a member you can discuss the latest happenings with knowlegable fans and insiders.

BDN Premium Subscribers chat set for tonight

Duke fans hope Harrison Barnes chooses Duke - Phto is copyrighted by BDN Photo and cannot be used without permission from BDN.
Duke fans hope Harrison Barnes chooses Duke - Photo is copyrighted by BDN Photo and cannot be used without permission from BDN.

We’ll have the BDN Chat Room open for premium subscribers from 9:30 to 10:00 eastern time this evening.  I wonder what we’ll talk about?  LOL!  Well, it’s open for any topic but Harrison Barnes will likely dominate the conversation.  It’s a great time to join Blue Devil Nation Premium where you’ll recieve full site access.  **New members, keep in mind that you must register for the message board separately.  Also, our message boards are private, meaning you must be a paying subscriber to participate or read any of the posts.

Harrison Barnes visits Duke a day after Irving verbals to the Blue Devils

Barnes sports a Duke T-Shirt while talking to K - this picture is copyrighted by Blue Devil Nation and cannot be used without prior permission
Barnes sports a Duke T-Shirt while talking to K - this picture is copyrighted by Blue Devil Nation and cannot be used without prior permission

This has been a huge week for Duke Basketball Recruiting and it all started when they got a commitment from Kyrie Irving on Thursday evening.  Blue Devil fans are still celebrating and holding their breath until Harrison Barnes makes his decision.  Barnes of course, is on campus this weekend.

The Barnes family arrived at 9:00 today and will spend 48 hours on campus.  In fact, today’s open practice featured Barnes and his mom and sister.  BDN was on hand to check out our current players and naturally, take a look at what was going on around Barnes.  We have also included a few photo’s from the event below.

Anyhow, here’s what happened – [private] Barnes came into the practice after it started and got a large applause from the many fans on hand.  He initially sat with his family, but later moved to the bench area, where he unzipped his navy blue Nike sweat suit to reveal a Duke T-Shirt.

Just before that, a single yell of, “Harrison Barnes come to Duke,” rang out and Barnes immediately smiled and waved in the direction of the fan.

copyright BDN Photo
copyright BDN Photo

The Barnes family seemed relaxed and likely a little tired after arriving early this morning.  Duke Assistant coaches Nate James and Chris Collins each talked with Barnes as the practice went on.

Krzyzewski talked to Barnes on three occasions, but the last twenty five minutes of the practice, he had a one on one discussion with an attentive Barnes.

At the two hour mark much of the crowd had left, but Barnes got another ovation as he left Cameron and headed for the locker room.

For the record, my understanding is that smoke and mirror or speculation articles are out there on other sites.  Barnes is not allowed to play pick up games after practice has started per NCAA guidelines.  So, be careful who you listen to.

It’s also worth noting, that no web site or media outlet is allowed to contact or talk to Barnes in any way while on campus.  These rules apply for boosters too, so please be careful if you see him out and about.  A passing comment of encouragement is okay, just don’t engage him in conversation.

Coaches surround Barnes - BDNP
Coaches surround Barnes - BDNP

Don’t look for too much information to come out on this one other than sightings.  Duke has a full schedule for Barnes and he’ll likely take in some of the football game tomorrow, which is a big one for Duke.  Hopefully the weather holds up as it did today.  With the leaves changing colors on campus, it makes for a nice backdrop. [/private]

BDNP
BDNP
BDNP
BDNP

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Harrison Barnes is set to visit Duke this weekend

Barnes makes a move during the NBAPA Camp this past summer - Photo copyright Blue Devil Nation
Barnes makes a move during the NBAPA Camp this past summer - Photo copyright Blue Devil Nation

Duke will entertain the nations top rated prospect, Harrison Barnes, this weekend – but don’t look for a sudden verbal.

Barnes has been methodical and consistent throughout the recruiting process, refusing to talk of any schools in home visits.  In short, the Barnes family feels these matters are personal.

That has led to a lot of wild speculation for when there is little factual information available, rumors and spin mills dominate the frantic and obsessed message boards.  Of course, battles between rival schools like Duke and UNC make this recruitment sizzling hot.

The Blue Devils were on Barnes, 6-6 forward, early and his relationship with Krzyzewski goes back a good ways.  In fact, Barnes has visited Duke three times and this weekend’s official visit will be the fourth time.

But that hasn’t stopped Roy Williams and UNC from making a hard charge a bit later in the process.  Despite the fact Williams could not talk to Barnes in any way, he flew  to Iowa recently and – sure enough – local TV stations picked up on it.  This enabled Williams to get some TV time and his mission accomplished.

For every move the Blue Devils have made, Williams has had a counter move, but this weekend, Barnes attention will be on Duke and Duke alone.

Barnes would be a great fit for Duke in more ways than one.  The Blue Devils offer a roster spot guaranteeing Barnes to play his natural position.  The Devils made no secret that he was their choice from day one and in the process they’ve turned away other interested prospects making him a priority recruit.

The Blue Devils are also expected to get a verbal from Kyrie Irving tonight but this is yet to be official and that may well help their cause for Barnes has mentioned that he’d like to play with him.  In fact, the two stay in regular contact with one another,  but in today’s social media outlets, that’s not surprising.

Kansas and Oklahoma remain in the mix for Barnes as well, but the consensus among those in the know is that this is a tobacco road battle.

This is nothing new, for the two behemoths have gone head to head before.  One of those battles was for Brandon Wright, a player Duke coveted that signed with the Heels.

But another was Shane Battier, who called Dean Smith to let him know of his choice and got an answer of “okay.” followed by a dial tone.

While Wright was a good player for UNC, Battier was a legend at Duke and the battle for Barnes is more similar in that he is a certain impact player.

Make no mistake that this is one important recruit for Duke and a commitment would start a shift in the balance of power in a big way.  Of course, Williams knows this and he has done a great job of making up ground.

Let’s be honest here, Williams likely knows that Barnes to Duke would be a huge future blow.  I’m sure he’d take a Barnes to Kansas scenario and rest at ease, but this is as much about keeping Barnes away from Duke as it is getting him to Chapel Hill.

Only time will tell in this one and no matter what you hear in the coming week, very little of it is likely to be factual.  One thing I’m pretty certain of is that Barnes will go through with his plans and announce on November 12th and Duke is most certainly in this one.

For more details and discussion, join Blue Devil Nation Premium and be in the know.

Peach Jam Day 3 Report – Andre Dawkins tosses in 36 points, but Boo Williams falls short

Andre Dawkins had a 36 point 9 rebound effort during today's Peach Jam action - BDN Photo
Andre Dawkins had a 36 point 9 rebound effort during today's Peach Jam action - BDN Photo

Andre Dawkins torched the nets for 36 points and added 9 rebounds but his Boo Williams team was no match for talent laden Team Final.  Team Final is of course led by Michael Gilchrist, but his 13 points and 8 rebounds were not the main factor in a 101-74 victory.  Tyreak Duran and Trevor Cooney scored 52 points together and Rakeem Christmas contributed with 12 points as Team Final moved to the next round.

It is worth noting that Team Final won that game as well 92-77 over California Supreme.  Gilchrist went for 14 points and 11 boards in that game and Cooney and Christmas added 20 points apiece.  Team Final will play Team Florida in the semi finals tomorrow and will play the winner of the Albany City Rocks – All Ohio Red.

Earlier in the day, Harrison Barnes and Howard Pulley were sent packing.  Barnes had another amazing game in a standing room only audience scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to go with 2 steals.

BDN talked with Barnes after the game [private] and you will get the lowdown as the week goes on.  Barnes will only play in two more events, none of which are on the AAU circuit.  He will attend the Nike Global Challenge and the Rumble in the Bronx in Rucker Park. Coaches watching Barnes were Wojo and Collins, Roy Williams, Billy Donovan, John Calipari, Bill Self and Johnny Dawkins.

Tobias Harris has cemented his name and will rise on all of the gurus charts.  His 27 points helped Albany to the semi finals.  Jarren Sullinger(21 points 8 boards)  and All Ohio Red sent Each One Teach on packing.  Austin Rivers had 10 points and 4 assists.  In the previous game, Rivers scored 22 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists leading his team to a win over Houston Hoops.

Finally, Brad Beal redeemed himself in a big way with a stat stuffing performance.  Beal talked with BDN for a second time after the game and mentioned that he took fouling out with 2 points hard.  Beal’s impressive numbers were 29 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocked shots and 2 steals.

That’s it for now, but we will have plenty more to come as the week goes on.  One last note, Chris Spatola came in and took Wojo and Collins place as the duo headed to West Virginia. [/private]