Mar 29, 2012, 3:31 PM EDT
On the same day that Kendall Marshall won the Cousy Award he and two teammates have decided that they’ll be turning pro.
As announced by North Carolina, Marshall, wing Harrison Barnes and power forward John Henson will all enter the 2012 NBA Draft.
This means that the Tar Heels will have to replace four starters going into next season.
Senior Tyler Zeller is out of eligibility, and like him all three are expected to be first round draft picks.
“It’s a great day for three youngsters who are taking another step toward their ultimate goal of playing professional basketball,” says 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.
“When I recruit a young man I talk to them about their ultimate goals and each of them are taking that next step toward reaching the goals they spoke to me about. I am extremely pleased for them. They have meant so much to our basketball program and theUniversity of North Carolina. I thank them for everything they have contributed to Carolina Basketball.
“I really look forward to watching Harrison, John and Kendall play in the NBA. I know theywill be very successful. They have been and will always be great Tar Heels.”
Marshall, who missed the final two games of the season with a fractured right wrist, led the ACC with an average of 9.8 assists per game. According to Draft Express he’s likely to slot into the bottom portion of the lottery or just outside of it.
Both Barnes and Henson are expected to be lottery picks but it remains to be seen if Barnes did any harm to his draft prospects with his play in the NCAA tournament.
Barnes was criticized by many for his play, with his struggles creating his own looks being the biggest point of contention. The need to improve in this area became even more apparent with Marshall out of the lineup.
Barnes averaged 17.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while Henson posted 13.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.9 blocked shots per contest this season.
It remains to be seen what freshman forward James Michael McAdoo decides to do, but to say the least the Tar Heels will rely heavily on the trio of Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston and Dexter Strickland (coming off of a torn ACL) next season.
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