Star Freshman Harrison Barnes struggled mightily in the first half of this year and the player, long considered a top draft prospect, began to fall down the mock draft boards. Now the young forward has found his footing, adjusted to the pace of the college game and is once again a top five prospect heading into the 2011 draft.
At 6,8 Barnes has the handle and body control of a point guard and can use his size and athleticism to get his shot off against any defense. He may not have the explosiveness of a Vince Carter but he is a far better outside shooter and is explosive enough to get into the lane and finish. His ball handling ability lets him shake free for jumpers and make one on one moves to the rim. But the thing that separates him from most other prospects is his accuracy from outside. Rarely do we see a player as young as Barnes showcase such a fluid, accurate and confident outside shot.
On defense Barnes shows good effort, gets in good position and uses his length, strength and athleticism well. He is a decent rebounder and solid all around team player. In fact, it is refreshing to see a player as talented as Barnes also be a good teammate and show a down to earth and humble demeanor.
On the flip side of this, the only knock against Barnes is that he lacks the killer instinct that makes great players great. As a freshman on a talented North Carolina team he sometimes defers to the upper class-men but as the most talented player on the roster he should demand the ball more often.
The bottom line is that Barnes looks ready to contribute right away at the NBA level and shows the promise to blossom into a superstar small forward in the league.