After watching some of the North Carolina-Duke game last night, I began to reflect on the relationship between Roy Williams and Harrison Barnes.
Coach Williams landed the celebrated recruit from Ames, Iowa high school last year. Ames is only about 70 miles from my home.
Color broadcaster Dick Vitale was talking about Barnes and his hometown last night.
Barnes could have gone anywhere in the basketball universe but apparently developed a deep relationship with Williams. Williams knows the state of Iowa well. He grabbed two stellar athletes from our state when he was coaching Kansas. One guy jokingly said that ‘ole Roy’ should pay Iowa state income tax.
Barnes has had mega pressure on him this season. He was the first freshman ever to be named a preseason All-American. So when Superman came in and didn’t dominant, the questions were flying. But Barnes is picking his game up and playing like the preseason hype.
I wonder what impact Williams has had on Barnes’ improved play. Did the coach give him the tough love speech or did he use the positive reinforcement approach?
Maybe some of both.
You can bet Williams didn’t gush over Barnes like he did during the recruiting process. But it looks like Barnes, Williams and North Carolina will be just fine.