Speculation and rumor became reality Thursday as University of North Carolina junior forward John Henson, sophomore forward Harrison Barnes and sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall all announced that they will enter the 2012 NBA Draft.
The departing trio, along with the graduating Tyler Zeller, accounted for 66 percent of the team’s scoring, 58 percent of the team’s rebounds and nearly 80 percent of the team’s assists. According to numerous national projections, all four players ranked in the top-20 of NBA prospects.
Marshall, who won the Bob Cousy Award earlier in the day, set the ACC’s single-season assist record this year with 351 – the fourth-most in NCAA history – and was named to the All-ACC second-team. His 9.75 assists per game and 17 double-figure assist games were also ACC records.
“I would like to thank my family, coaches, teammates and the Tar Heel Nation for all their support,” Marshall said. “It’s been the greatest two years of my life. I have always put the team before myself and I am extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished. My life long dream has been to play basketball at the highest level possible and I feel now is my greatest opportunity to fulfill this goal.”
Barnes came to Carolina as the top recruit in college basketball two years ago and was a pre-season All-American as a freshman. He earned first-team All-ACC and second-team All-America honors this season after leading Carolina in scoring for the second straight year.