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March 9, 2010
He has a top prospect ranking and the scholarship to North Carolina that goes along with it.
But before he finishes his high school career, Ames (Iowa) Ames Senior small forward Harrison Barnes wants one more thing - and it's not to become the school's all-time leading point scorer.
"Being the all-time leading scorer at Ames High would be great, but I'd rather have another state championship," Barnes said in a live online chat Tuesday afternoon via the Des Moines Register. "That is what I'm focusing on."
Barnes, the No. 2 prospect in the Rivals 150 for 2010, and his Ames teammates continue the quest for that state title on Wednesday with a matchup against Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Washington in the quarterfinals. Ames (24-0) is ranked No. 10 in the most recent RivalsHigh Top 100 boys basketball rankings.
"The most important game is tomorrow because if you don't win the first game you can't get to the championship," Barnes said. "We've been doing a lot to prepare for Cedar Rapids Washington and it should be a good game."
And good games are something that Barnes should get used to. Next year, Barnes will likely be a part of a lot of them.
Like -you know - that little road trip to Cameron Indoor against Duke.
"Yes, (that) will be a lot of fun," Barnes said. "The atmosphere will be crazy. I don't expect to get a friendly welcome of any sort."
But Barnes isn't taking anything about next year for granted.
"My playing time next year will be what I earn," he said. "(North Carolina) Coach (Roy) Williams has told me that from day one. However much I play will be a direct result from my work ethic and effort in practice."
He also said that he's been working extra hard in the classroom in preparation for a June entrance into North Carolina's business school. That means taking advanced placement classes in chemistry and Spanish - the classes Barnes said are his hardest "no question."
"It's difficult, but at the end of the day basketball isn't an option if I don't take care of my responsibilities in the classroom," he said.
But this high school senior has other responsibilities too, beyond the court and the classroom. He also has embraced his presence as a role model in his community, especially for his younger fans.
"It's great to make a little kid's day when I can sign his or her shirt or piece of paper," he said. "The look on their faces is priceless."
But just signing autographs isn't enough for him. He hopes to leave a lasting impression.
"Hopefully (younger students will remember) that I was very respectable and carried myself with class," Barnes said. "I hope that the students of Ames High can look past the things I've done on the basketball court and see the kind of person I am and follow that example."