Harrison Barnes has been a hot topic arount the Wildcat blogosphere lately. Barnes is a 6'6" 190# small forward out of Ames, Iowa who has been offered by many colleges including Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, Tennessee and numerous Big 12 schools.
UK Wildcat Country takes a look at Barnes today, and I have looked around in the usual places to learn more about Mr. Barnes. My take is that Barnes has a maturing game and refreshingly adult attitude about basketball, which you can see very well in this video at the WKYT website. Check out the report at the top right, the very first minute or so (be sure to unmute the player as it starts muted). Barnes was discussing his possible choices, and he is very well-spoken and appears to be quite intelligent.
In the film I have watched of Barnes, he looks like a good prospect for about any Division I program. He is athletic, but not freakishly so. He has a nice touch and decent length, and seems to understand that doing the little things like rebounding and defending are as important to success as shooting and scoring. He likes to slash, but he is able to shoot the ball from the perimeter and projects to a 3 on the next level, possibly a big 2 if he can improve his handle. Like most high school players, he strongly favors his strong (right) side, and needs to work on getting shots off the bounce -- he is a little bit one-dimensional from the perimeter in that he doesn't seem to want to shoot perimeter shots on the move. He tries to avoid contact a bit too much at this point, but again, that's normal for a high school player, especially one as young as Barnes.
Barnes is used to playing close to the basket, but the AAU circuit has put him in a position to play more on the wing, and his improving perimeter game is one of the things that caused him to jump up the charts so much. Barnes reminds me very much of Darius Miller with his good body control and patience. His most impressive characteristics, quite honestly, might be his obvious intelligence (you hardly ever hear an "uh" out of him) and his mature, respectful demeanor on the floor. Barnes is also a track athlete in high school, a good long jumper high jumper.
I am glad to see UK recruiting a guy like this, not just because he is a good player but because it seems likely that he is a good student and has a good feel for the game. He has connections to the Iowa State Cyclones (his mother works at ISU and Greg McDermott's sons attend the same high school) and would figure to be tough to get out of the Big 12, but Kentucky is and should be serious about recruiting him.
UPDATE 04:51 PM: AlleyOopScoop has an interview with Barnes done at Hoopfest.