With Penn State's hire of Pat Chambers and Tennessee's impending date with the Committee on Infractions this weekend, it seems we've officially, finally moved past the first phase of the offseason -- defined by draft decisions and coaching changes -- and into the portion better known for violations hearings and summer skills camps.
Ah, yes, the summer skills camps, the shoe-sponsored ultra-gatherings of some of the nation's best high school and collegiate stars. Not only can scrimmages at these camps come off as makeshift college All-Star affairs, they also portend improvements for the season to come. Plus, players like Kevin Durant, Amare Stoudemire, Paul Pierce, Chris Paul and Deron Williams are often in the house, offering tutelage, oversight, or just plain presence.
As such, these camps are usually broken down by positions. Wings attend Durant and Pierce's camps. Forwards and centers hang with Amare. Guards go with Paul and Williams. You get the idea.
This year, however, there is at least one notable exception. On June 10, North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes will join the point guards in attendance at the CP3 Elite Guard Camp in Winston Salem, N.C. According to the Sporting News's Mike DeCourcy, Barnes reached out to Nike to see if he could be allowed to attend in the hopes of working on his perimeter skills. Barnes did the same thing in the past two seasons; Duke forward Kyle Singler attended the guard camp last year, too.
Anyone who has seen Barnes play knows he isn't a point guard. He's a capable jump-shooter and he attacks the basket well, but he's a big, physical small forward, even at his most versatile. But Barnes is known for nothing if not for his work ethic, so it's no surprise he asked -- and was given -- a high-profile opportunity to work in a strictly guard-focused environment.
UNC's real point guard and Barnes' teammate, standout freshman Kendall Marshall, will be on hand at the CP3 camp, too. Marshall doesn't have to worry about losing his starting role to the Black Falcon anytime soon. But the notion of Barnes -- a 6-foot-8 physical specimen with a constantly improving midrange touch -- expanding his game in meaningful ways has to make North Carolina fans, not to mention NBA scouts, salivate with excitement.