North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Barnes slaps hands with teammate Stilman White in the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks in their men's NCAA Midwest Regional basketball game in St. Louis

North Carolina’s Barnes, Henson, Marshall enter NBA draft


North Carolina is going to be a very different team next year as four-fifths of its starting lineup will be in in the NBA.

John Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall all will leave the university as underclassmen and enter the NBA draft, North Carolina has announced. (The fourth starter to leave is senior Tyler Zeller.)

There is no real surprise here, all three are underclassmen are considered solid first round picks, with Barnes and Henson in the lottery and Marshall on the fringe. It was expected they would throw their names into the draft.

Barnes almost left after his freshman year (he was considered a top five pick last year) but returned to have an up-and-down season that culminated in some uninspiring play in the NCAA Tournament. He can shoot and has a smooth game, plus he can defend (although there are questions how well he can do that against the elite athletes he will face at the next level. DraftExpress has the versatile small forward now going No. 7 overall.

Henson, the very athletic 6’11” power forward (who is a bit raw on offense), is ranked right behind him at No. 8 by the same site. Marshall, the point guard who had to miss his final college games due to a broken wrist, is ranked No. 14. (Zeller is slotted to go No. 10 by DraftExpress.)

That is four potential lottery picks leaving in one year. Michael Jordan may be almost as unhappy as Roy Williams.

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi
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Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.

Jahlil Okafor fights man in Boston (video)

Jahlil Okafor

The 76ers lost a heartbreaker to the Celtics last night, dropping Philadelphia to 0-16.

Jahlil Okafor was apparently in a foul mood after the game.


We’re told everyone got up and fled the scene and no arrests were made.

We’re told the altercation began because one of the men in the other group yelled at Jahlil, “The 76ers suck.”

We spoke with a rep for Jahlil who tells us … Okafor says he was being heckled from the moment he left the club and felt threatened because people swarmed him on the street.


This video obviously doesn’t show everything, but it certainly makes Okafor look like the aggressor.

Okafor will probably face punishment from some combination of the legal system, NBA and 76ers.

Kristaps Porzingis envelops Victor Oladipo’s dunk attempt (video)

Nikola Vucevic, Kristaps Porzingis
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Scott Skiles moved Victor Oladipo to the bench, because the Magic coach wanted to give Oladipo a chance to be more aggressive.

It worked.

Oladipo scored a season-high 24 points in the Magic’s 100-91 win over the Knicks.

But Oladipo’s aggressiveness also produced this fantastic Kristaps Porzingis block: