UNC Tarheels - Number 1 team for 2011 - 2012 preseason

Returning the roster?

Before the tournament started there were alleged statements from Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, and John Henson saying that if they did not win the championship they would all return. These statements have not been verified, but there is a lot of buzz in the Tarheel community as their decisions inch closer.

I know that the championship game was just played and the next season is months away, but it's never to early to look ahead. According to Dick Vitale, of ESPN, their is an assumption that all three forwards will return for another year at the University of North Carolina.

Harrison Barnes was thought to be pro-ready straight out of high school and has the potential to be a great pro. He came into the season as a preseason All-American freshman, which speaks a lot to his abilities. He fell well short of being the top college player and struggled early in the season. Though he did show a massive improvement as the entire team got better towards the end of the year, it would be in his best interests to return for at least one more year. There was also a lot of talk of him going to UNC because of its education opportunities as well as its basketball tradition. If he really values an education he may return and play a few years. UPDATE: Barnes said that his decision would most likely be in about 'a week' or 'a week and a half,' meaning his decision will come around the week of April 10th. Final Update: Barnes is returning to UNC at least for one more year.

Tyler Zeller has become a very important centerpiece to the Tarheel team. His size, quickness and athleticism makes him nearly irreplaceable. The Zeller family as a whole has place an importance on education. Tyler's brother, Luke, played all four years at Notre Dame and moved to Japan for a year to play ball after graduation. He now plays in the Developmental League for Bakersfield. Zeller is also an Academic All-American and I would hate to see that kind of work be all for naught. UPDATE: Zeller has claimed that he will return for his senior season. There is still time to declare for the draft though. Final Update:Zeller Is returning for his senior season at UNC.

Of these three it would surprise me the least to see John Henson leave for the NBA. It was thought that Henson may come in for one year, dominate and then leave for the NBA. He did come to UNC, but his dominance wasn't established until this past year. Henson stated in an interview on April 5th that 'I'll have my decision by Saturday (April 9th).' In my personal opinion I believe that Henson should play through all four years, build his body up and then enter the NBA set to destroy people inside. UPDATE: Henson has claimed he will return for his junior year. There is still time to declare for the draft though. Final Update: Henson is returning for his junior season at UNC.

The thought of all three returning is mind blowing.

UPDATE: All three NBA prospects chose to return and UNC has added great freshman talent. The rosters for next year look as such:

Starting PG- Kendall Marshall-So.

Starting SG- P.J. Haiston-Fr.

Starting SF- Harrison Barnes-So.

Starting PF- John Henson-Jr.

Starting PF/C- Tyler Zeller-Sr.

Bench guards:

  • Dexter Strickland-Jr.
  • Leslie McDonald-Jr.
  • Justin Watts-Sr.
  • Reggie Bullock-So.
  • Stillman White-Fr.

Bench Forwards:

  • James McAdoo-Fr.
  • Jackson Simmons-Fr.

Bench Center:

  • Desmond Hubert-Fr.

The forward position seems somewhat lacking, but all the players can play good minutes without fouling, which makes them valuable. Justin Watts also showed a bit of gumption by playing as a guard-forward. Jackson Simmons will come to UNC as a walk-on, but has the potential to get some decent playing time off the bench.

As always I can't say that anything is guaranteed. It is possible that all three will pull a Sean May and jet for the NBA. Right now, UNC looks to be set for a championship run though.

What will John Henson do?

  • 93% Stay at UNC
  • 7% Go to the draft
199 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

What will Tyler Zeller do?

  • 98% Stay at UNC
  • 2% Go to the NBA
175 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

What will Harrison Barnes do?

  • 92% Stay at UNC
  • 8% Go to the NBA
165 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

Will the North Carolina Tarheels' mens basketball team win the 2012 NCAA Championship?

  • 89% Yes
  • 11% No
65 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

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