Harrison Barnes is the number 1 SF prospect in class of 20
0910. He is also a consensus top-5 national recruit. So you can imagine he has an offer from every elite program from the world of college hoops. Right now recruiting observers think Barnes' recruitment will be a Duke-UNC-Kansas battle.
However, thanks to an amazing recruiting visit Barnes enjoyed during his trip to Westwood, there might a dark horse who might be sneaking in. I will let Harrison tell the story about his trip:
First, I would like to say that the UCLA trip was outstanding! When I visited there unofficially this summer, I got a chance to tour the athletic facilities, meet with academic advisors and attend a class, so we didn’t focus on that for this trip.
It gave me a lot more time to spend with Coach (Ben) Howland and his staff. They always said that they were going to recruit me until I signed, and it was truly refreshing to see how they approached my recruitment. They were able to show me the whole UCLA family in its current state, as well as the rich tradition of the past. I got to see how active they are in the community, campus life and just everything going on there. One of the best parts about this trip was that it gave me a chance to hang out with Coach Howland and just bond with him.
You have to read about his entire trip at HighSchoolHoop.com to get a sense of how he impressed he was with the culture of Howlandwood. Apparently, his experience included a cameo appearance by Kevin Love (which is an awesome detail b/c it shows how involved KL is with our program). However, here are the grafs that had yours truly floored:
Monday morning was probably the most special morning because I got a chance to have breakfast with Coach Howland, Coach John Wooden and his daughter. That was an unreal experience! Just sitting in front of Coach Wooden, who in my opinion is the greatest coach in sports history, was awesome. I was just listening to him quote literature and quote other great leaders … it was exciting.
One of his favorite quotes was from Abraham Lincoln: "It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool then to speak out and remove all doubt." That really hit home. Those were like words of wisdom. But it was really fun to be eating with him and see him in his environment. He was still cracking jokes at age 99! It was just a really fun time. I really enjoyed that.
I have to say that is pretty amazing coming from a high school kid today. He clearly "gets it." Of course everyone here knows the reason behind the reverence around Coach. However, not everyone in the sports world (especially today's kids) might not get it. I have no idea whether Barnes will end up in Westwood. I still think it's a long shot with perhaps UNC with the inside track. However, whatever happens I have become a fan. I wish him best of luck.
I should also note when you read about his trip details, you have to come away even more impressed with Coach Howland and his staff. They absolutely nailed a perfect trip and experience for an elite recruit. From all angles it's an awesome story. It will put you even more at ease with the state Coach Wooden's program under the Caretaker of Westwood.