In November 2009, Harrison Barnes, the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2010, chose Chapel Hill over Durham.
Barnes, a native of Ames, Iowa, also rejected the local school Iowa State, as well as Kansas, Oklahoma and UCLA.
His decision helped North Carolina secure the No. 7 class in the nation, according to 247Sports Composite, completed with fellow commits Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall as the UNC Class of 2010. Without Barnes, Duke finished with the country’s No. 16 class.
One of the most notable aspects of this decision was how Barnes made it. The recruit called North Carolina head coach Roy Williams on Skype to tell him of his commitment, which was revolutionary at the time. It’s funny to look back at the reactions to the Skype call in 2020 and an illustration of how the world has changed in only the span of a decade.
With the benefit of hindsight, we know how the player’s career went at North Carolina and after in the NBA. But now a decade after his college decision, let’s look back at the reactions to Harrison Barnes opting for Chapel Hill.
Reactions to Harrison Barnes Committing to UNC
“Iowa prep phenom Harrison Barnes says he’ll play for North Carolina.
Barnes, a 6-foot-7 swingman from Ames, is widely regarded as the top player in the Class of 2010.
Barnes was also considering Duke, Kansas, Oklahoma, UCLA and Iowa State, his hometown school. He made his announcement Friday before hundreds of students at the gym at Ames High School.
Barnes led Ames to a 26-0 record and a state title last winter, but he’s made a name for himself nationally with impressive performances on the summer circuit.” – Associated Press
“Barnes makes an already good North Carolina class even better. He joins Reggie Bullock of Kinston, N.C. (Kinston), No. 13 in the ESPNU 100 and the second-ranked scoring guard, and Kendall Marshall of Arlington, Va. (Bishop O’Connell), No. 19 in the top 100 and fourth-ranked point guard.
According to ESPN Scouts Inc., Barnes is a good athlete with deceptive speed and quickness off the dribble. He’s likely to play either the No. 2 or No. 3 spot. His offensive game is polished, with a deadly midrange jumper and step-back fall-away jumper. Overall, on the offensive end, Barnes isn’t flashy, but his efficiency and production are high-level. He’s also expected to be a defensive boost.” – ESPN.com
“Harrison Barnes, the No. 1 senior recruit in the nation and the human form of Fort Knox, signed a letter of intent to attend North Carolina at a news conference Friday.
‘Coach Roy Williams?’ Barnes said via Skype in his high school auditorium, breaking the extreme tension that had been building for weeks.
Barnes teased the crowd by saying a statement about each of his six finalists and seemed to give the most respectful comments about Duke. He then said he would be attending … the coach he calls on Skype.
Williams answered the call with the entire team with a huge smile on his face.” – Jacob Swinger, Indyweek.com
“Barnes got up, amidst heightened and anxious cheers and moved over to a black MacBook sitting atop a podium. The computer gurgled Skype’s intro and the entire North Carolina team appeared live on a theater projector screen. For the first time in history. Ames HS had big-time college basketball in its relatively tiny gym.” – Ryne Nelson, SLAM
“After a long, and impressive, speech in which he thanked his friends, family and others who made this possible, Barnes made the audience wait a few extra minutes by going all Web 2.0 on us and breaking out the Skype machine. That’s right – he Skype’d in the coach of the team he was about to select. After a brief technical glitch, UNC coach Roy Williams and the entire UNC basketball team appeared on a projected screen behind Barnes.
Dan Shanoff, expert on all things ‘webby’, was impressed.
‘BTW: I love that Barnes used Skype to tell UNC coach Roy Williams he was committing. Clever, novel, webby. Evolution of typical announcement.’
Evolution? Eh, I guess. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but what’s wrong with just picking up the hat of the team you’re going to select and putting it on your head? (Also: please get off my lawn.)” – Chris Mottram, SB Nation
“Barnes said he chose UNC on ‘Tuesday or Wednesday, (but) it’s never final until you sign your letter of intent.’
He said UNC coach Williams, ‘found out when everybody else found out, when we did it on the Skype.’
Barnes did not tell the other five coaches of his decision, but did speak to all of them Thursday night.” – Gary Bedore, KUsports.com
“When it came down to it, the SLAM high school diarist had his choice of the best schools in the nation. Sure, there was the talk about Kansas, Oklahoma and possibly UCLA or Iowa State. In the end, though, it came down to the behemoths: UNC or Duke.
Harrison not only fits-in at UNC, he’s going to thrive. With his all-around game (think Antawn Jamison) and extreme IQ (honors student), Harrison could become that piece that gives the Tar Heels the edge above all others next season.
Today, Harrison Barnes made it official: Skype has officially taken over the recruiting world.” – Nelson
“His decision ended months of speculation and a fascinating recruitment, including fans tracking Williams and Mike Krzyzewski’s planes, more message board inside sources than the entire population of Ames, Iowa, waitergate (don’t ask), and Barnes’ apparel for the past six months. …
Barnes kept his decision from leaking out to the public in an era of predictability in the recruiting world yet sports Jordan clothes from head to toe at school Friday.
‘About Tuesday or Wednesday I made my final decision,’ Barnes said. ‘We wanted to do something big, and we thought this would be the most classy way to do it.’
The 6-foot-7 wing player will join five-star recruits Kendall Marshall and Reggie Bullock and likely will make the Heels the preseason No. 1 team in 2010.” – Swiger
“Roy Williams, out-recruiting Coach K since 2003. But hey, at least you got Mason Plumlee!” – Mottram
Barnes Explains Decision Years Later
In 2016, Harrison Barnes went on the David Glenn Show and discussed a lot of things, including his decision to attend North Carolina over Duke. Unfortunately, it seems like it has been removed from SoundCloud, but a few quotes from the player from the conversation were posted:
“I had to make the decision I was most comfortable with. I felt like UNC was the right fit for me because I got along with my teammates better. From a basketball standpoint, they are about even. In terms of schools, they are both great schools.”
“To have this come back around and then be selected for the Olympic Team, I didn’t think it was going to happen. But obviously I was very humbled by the opportunity and proud to represent my country.”
“I didn’t expect for (choosing UNC over Duke) to come back around the way it did when I made the Olympic team.”