UNC's Henson, Barnes, Marshall to enter NBA Draft
Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) - North Carolina announced Thursday that junior forward John Henson, sophomore forward Harrison Barnes and sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall will enter the 2012 NBA Draft.
"It's a great day for three youngsters who are taking another step toward their ultimate goal of playing professional basketball," said North Carolina head coach Roy Williams. "On a very small stage, it's a sad day for me because I won't get to coach them again. All Tar Heel fans will miss them greatly, as well.
"I really look forward to watching Harrison, John and Kendall play in the NBA. I know they will be very successful. They have been and will always be great Tar Heels," Williams added.
Marshall won the Bob Cousy Award as the top point guard in the nation earlier Thursday. He became the third North Carolina player to claim the honor, following Raymond Felton in 2005 and Ty Lawson in 2009.
Marshall helped the Tar Heels to a record of 32-6, but his season came to an abrupt end after the third round of the NCAA Tournament when a fractured bone in his right wrist forced him to the bench. North Carolina won its first game without Marshall, but lost to Kansas in the regional final.
Marshall led the nation in assists with an ACC single-season record 351, and averaged 8.1 points with 9.8 assists in 36 games. He had 17 double-figure assist games and set an ACC Tournament record with 31 assists in three games.
"I would like to thank my family, coaches, teammates and the Tar Heel Nation for all their support," said Marshall. "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. I will always be a Tar Heel at heart and I will carry the experiences that I've had here both on and off the court with me for the rest of my life."
Henson played in 109 games for North Carolina and finished with 1,124 points, 885 rebounds and 279 blocks, the second-most in school history. He was the ACC's defensive player of the year in 2011 and 2012.
"I've loved my three years at Carolina, and now I'm ready to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA," said Henson. "It's tough to leave because I love my teammates, coaches and UNC. I wish we'd been able to bring our fans a national championship, but it wasn't meant to be. I am proud of what we accomplished, especially the last two years.
"I plan to finish working toward my degree. That's important to my parents, Coach Williams and me. I can't say enough about how much I've enjoyed my experience in Chapel Hill. This was a big decision and it will be a big change, but I'm ready.
"I'd like to thank my parents, Coach Williams and his staff and all of my teammates for everything they've done to get me ready for this moment. I'd also like to thank all the Carolina fans who have given us so much support over the last three years."
Barnes led the Tar Heels in scoring for the second straight year this season, averaging 17.1 points. He earned first-team All-ACC honors.
In 75 contests with North Carolina, Barnes scored 1,228 points.
"I'm honored and blessed to have the opportunity to compete in the NBA," said Barnes. "The love and respect I have for basketball fuel the drive toward my ultimate goal - to experience an illustrious career in the NBA. I have consulted with Coach Williams and my family, and although it was a difficult decision, I have decided to enter this year's NBA draft.
"Chapel Hill is a special place. Over the past two years I've enjoyed every single moment of my Tar Heel experience. The road we took to reach the Elite 8 in 2011 and again in 2012 were great team accomplishments. I am thankful to UNC fans, my teammates, and to have played for Hall of Fame Coach Roy Williams and the entire coaching staff. Now it's time for the next course of my journey. Although I may be giving up my eligibility, I will continue to pursue my degree. I love this university and will always be a Tar Heel."
03/29 16:03:43 ET