At North Carolina it is common place following the end of a season to have to sort through rumors of whether a player is turning pro or coming back to school. This season is no exception with four potential departures hanging over the prospects for the 2012-13 version of Carolina basketball. Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and James Michael McAdoo have decisions to make.
Perhaps Kendall Marshall, one of the four in question, said it best. He tweeted "Rumors, Rumors, Rumors" on Wednesday afternoon. And there is certainly a lot of that going around since Sunday's loss to Kansas which ended the UNC basketball season.
What we actually know is that Roy Williams has indicated that he would sit down with his underclassmen and discuss the future and hopes to have those season ending discussions finished by the end of the week.
We also know that underclassmen will have to announce their intentions sooner this season. The deadline to enter the NBA Draft is April 10 under NCAA rules.
Most Mock Drafts have Harrison Barnes projected in the top 5 or 6 with Kendall Marshall and John Henson going in the top 16. In the last few days, James Michael McAdoo has been mentioned frequently. McAdoo has the height and build for the NBA with a huge up side. Despite only making starts when Henson was out with injury, he showed that he has the skill set to play in the NBA. Some have McAdoo projected in the Top 10 if he decides to declare.
As far as the rumor mill goes, it is hard to get a real finger on the pulse on the intentions of these players. But there is a bit of static out there to sift through. In regards to McAdoo, his Father was quoted, “He’s coming home this weekend, and we’ll talk about the pros and cons; he’ll weigh the decision but right now, his mother and I expect to see him in a Tar Heel uniform again next season."
North Carolina is one of the schools who have contacted Alex Oriakhi, who has been granted his release from scholarship at Connecticut. He will have one season of eligibility remaining and can play immediately. Oriakhi is a big man who rebounds well and adds a solid defensive presence in the paint at 6'10". Does this mean Carolina feels they are about to lose Henson to the NBA? McAdoo? We know Tyler Zeller is graduating. Again, more rumors.
Many feel that out of Henson, Marshall and Barnes, Kendall Marshall would be the most likely to return to Chapel Hill. He tweeted Oriakhi yesterday, "Stop playin n come on @aoriakhi34". Does this mean he is encouraging him to come to Carolina to join him or just to come to UNC in general? Perhaps it means something entirely different. More rumors!
As far as Harrison Barnes goes, he was spotted at Spring Football practice. Other than that, not a whole lot more. Most would be surprised if he returns for his Junior Season. Does the silence indicate that? Barnes was one who stated that if Carolina won the National Championship, it would be a no brainer decision to turn pro. They didn't. Is it still a no brainer?
One thing is certain, the rumor mill will continue to grind until decisions have been made and announced. We will no for certain within two weeks.
(Photo of James Michael McAdoo courtesy of BasketballElite)