Motivated Barnes ready to be leader for Tar Heels

By Aaron Beard

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 8 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

That's probably the closest Barnes will come to public trash talking. Articulate and thoughtful, he's careful not to say too much or ramble off topic. Yet for someone who described himself last year as a still-developing player working diligently to improve, his matter-of-fact tone is a sign of how Barnes is all business about helping the Tar Heels win the NCAA title.

As his mother, Shirley said, "It's just something about him. He likes to reach his goals, and he makes it happen."

"It just makes things so much easier," Barnes said of writing down his goals. "You can be focused on one thing and you can work toward it, but if there's no goal in mind, then you're working for nothing."

And once he sets his mind to something, Barnes usually gets it done.

As a fifth- and sixth-grader, he had his own yardwork service in Ames, Iowa, to mow lawns during the summer or shovel snow during the winter. He even made his own business cards complete with his school photo to hand out around the neighborhood once he passed his mother's test of doing a good job on his own lawn with the push mower.

His business got its first client when he decided to shovel snow from the driveway of a nearby house, then knocked on the door and asked to be paid. When he told his mother that the woman had paid him $20, she made him walk back and return the money — "I mean, I don't know where her business savvy was," he joked — because he hadn't asked to do the work first.

"The uniqueness there is pretty refreshing in a lot of ways, too," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "But he has his own plan and he's had that for several, several years."

If that plans works, Barnes and his teammates have the chance to accomplish the top priority on his to-do list: Win a national title.

"You just know what to expect now," Barnes said. "You know how to prepare. We're just anxious to get the season under way, do what we need to do, keep our hats low and hopefully see all you guys in March."

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