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Harrison Barnes gives us a sign

1/14/2011

Harrison Barnes is one cool customer.

The North Carolina freshman, who came to Chapel Hill with the expectations of a preseason All-American on his shoulders, has averaged 11.8 points, bored some to sleep with his OK performances and even yawned before Thursday's Virginia Tech game.

But Barnes flashed his potential in the second half of the game, scoring eight of his 12 points in the final 3 1/2 minutes to lift the Tar Heels to a 64-61 win.

"I think he had three outside shots, or maybe even four in the last seven or eight minutes of the game," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "And he needed to because he wasn't very good up until that point. I told him, I said 'Your game stunk, but God almighty were you good in about a six minute stretch there. And that was big for us, Harrison made two threes.'"

This counts as progress for those who want to see Barnes reach his potential in a Tar Heels uniform. That he showed signs of what could continue to happen as he and the season progress is a big deal.

Has the sleeping giant been awakened? If so, Barnes isn't taking a few minutes of All-American play too seriously and is apparently content with getting better at his own pace.

According to the Fayetteville Observer, Barnes called it the worst performance of his life if not for the final minutes, which were so filled with promise.

"In my mind I thought, 'How ironic I'm making shots now,' " Barnes said. "I was just laughing internally. Externally, I was obviously focused on the game.

It was just funny to me."