Barnes has already visited North Carolina and will also visit:
Oct. 2 – Oklahoma
Oct. 9 – UCLA
Oct. 16 – Kansas
Oct. 23 – Duke
Nov. 6 – Iowa State (unofficial)
Duke has long been considered the favorite for Barnes, but North Carolina has made up tremendous ground, especially after Barnes saw Michael Jordan at the Carolina Pro Alumni Game Sept. 4 during his visit.
“To have the greatest player to ever play the game … it kind of blows you away just trying to grasp the whole thing,” Barnes told the Charlotte News Observer.
Now he will hit Oklahoma, UCLA and Kansas before setting foot on Duke’s campus.
“In the end, I’ll do what’s best for me,” Barnes told the Charlotte News Observer.
IRVING SET FOR OFFICIAL TO DUKE
The 6-foot-2 Irving is set to depart with his father, Drederick Irving, and his uncle, Sye Dean, for an official to the Duke campus beginning Friday.
There has been speculation that Irving could verbal while on campus, but on Thursday he said by text: “I don’t think so.”
Irving is also set to visit Texas A&M (Oct. 9), Kentucky (Oct. 15), Georgia Tech (Oct. 23) and Seton Hall (Oct. 30).
Still, his father said Duke has everything a school could offer. And with Indiana now out of the picture, Duke appears to be the clear favorite.
“It is very appealing what they offer,” Drederick said
“It’s a great academic institution that offers great athletics. You get the best of both worlds. That reflects what I represent and what Kyrie represents but we’re still trying to be objective about it because there are still other elite schools that offer that academic excellence.”
JOHNSON, WHITTINGHAM LEAVE ST. RAY’S
Sidiki Johnson, a 6-8 junior guard who recently committed to Arizona, has left The Bronx school to play for Dan Hurley at St. Benedict’s Prep.
“I’m getting away from home and it’s a college prep school, so I’m gonna be ready for college, it’s a wonderful school,” Johnson told GothamHoops.com.
“It will prepare me for college because I’m away from home and I’ll be playing against the best guys in the country.”
St. Benedict’s last year lost Texas-bound forward Tristan Thompson when he was booted from the team and then resurfaced at Findlay (Nev.) Prep.
Johnson could slide in and fill that position alongside guards Myck Kabongo (committed to Texas) and Aaron Brown (uncommitted).
“[Coach Hurley's] offense is four out and one in so I’m going to be playing on the perimeter,” Johnson told Gotham Hoops. “Wherever he needs me I’ll be there and I’m going to get better [at St. Benedict's].
“I’m on a mission to become a pro, I want to work as hard as a pro works so that I can get better and better.”
St. Ray’s coach Oliver Antigua was not immediately available for comment Thursday night.
Johnson joins fellow juniors Jose Rodriguez, a 6-foot-5 wing, and Joey DeLaRosa, a 6-11 forward, who are now playing at the Impact Basketball location in Las Vegas.
5-10 point guard Steve Whittingham has also left St. Ray’s for New Rochelle High, according to Harold McBride Sr.
McBride Sr.’s son, former St. Raymond’s point guard Harold McBride, is now attending Bradenton Prep Academy and playing for Impact Basketball in Sarasota, Fla.
“Yes, he is,” McBride Sr. said by phone.
“It was a good opportunity for my son to excel and to develop his basketball skills. He’s working and training.”
Two other former St. Ray’s players, Omari Lawrence and Kevin Parrom, left the school last fall for South Kent (Conn.)
Lawrence is now at St. John’s and Parrom is at Arizona.
“It is what it is,” McBride Sr. said. “In Harolds’s case a better opportunity presented itself somewhere else.”
(Photos courtesy Rivals, Irving family)