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Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Harrison Barnes briefly freaks out fans

By Eamonn Brennan

Back in April, yours truly was mighty impressed with the North Carolina Tar Heels' budding outdoor campus pickup tradition, which our buddy Ben Cohen at the Wall Street Journal captured with a fun little feature piece at the time. The Tar Heels would tweet a spot on campus out to students, then show up a few minutes later and cheerily host five-on-five games with their non-basketballing peers. It certainly wasn't the first time players have played pickup hoops on campus, but it was a pretty neat way to go about doing so.

The only potential downside to playing basketball on outdoor courts with players considerably less athletic than you is the possibility of getting injured. Which is exactly what Harrison Barnes pretended to do this weekend, if only for a split second, per this Twitvid shot by user R.L. Bynum and first surfaced by the folks at Tar Heel Wire. (And hat tip to The Dagger, too.)

If you click to the 47-second mark -- don't worry, you'll only miss a layup by John Henson -- you'll see Barnes halfheartedly chase down a loose ball, get tripped by an opponent and fall to the ground for a few seconds of playing dead.

Barnes is obviously hamming it up almost from the moment he falls down, but the sheer fact that he did fall -- if only for a split second -- got an ever-so-fleeting rise out of the assembled masses. It's the sound of 100 or so UNC die-hards suddenly seeing their 2011-12 season flash before their eyes. Ohmygodishehurt? Oh, no, no NO! Why did we play these outdoor games?! Why?!? This was so dumb! ... Oh, he's just joking. He's OK! Deep breaths. Phew.

Barnes wasn't diabolical enough to really sell the injury. That would have been a lot more evil. It also would have been hilarious. Oh, well. Maybe next time.