For all the expectations and honors bestowed upon North Carolina star Harrison Barnes -- top overall recruit of the 2010 class, ACC Rookie of the Year, conference preseason player of the year, future first-round NBA draft pick -- there is a reminder that the Tar Heels sophomore is still just a teenager.
Barnes revealed Wednesday that he only recently obtained his driver's license, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Barnes didn't acquire a driver's license until this summer, at age 19, when he returned to his hometown of Ames, Iowa. In Iowa, Barnes said that in high school he had lived close enough to school and the gym to walk to both places. He didn't feel the need for a license last year since college freshmen can't have cars on campus at Chapel Hill.
So Barnes' first collegiate road trip of the white-knuckle kind came Tuesday night when he drove teammate John Henson and himself 140 miles from Chapel Hill to Charlotte - in the rain - to participate in the ACC's annual Operation Basketball media day Wednesday.
"I was like this the first few miles," Henson said, widening his eyes and gripping the side of his seat in mock terror.
"Getting out of Chapel Hill was tough," Barnes said. "I'm nervous when driving there. People don't use the crosswalks at all - they just cross the road wherever they want to."
Yes, the age of 19 is a little bit late for some to be getting their licenses, but Barnes has passed that test. Now he has the Tar Heels in the preseason driver's seat to win a national championship.
So if you see a smiling 6-foot-8 gentleman behind the wheel in Chapel Hill, be kind on the road because he's a new driver. And for pedestrians, be careful.
"Pedestrians walk out, they don’t use the crosswalk," Barnes told the Fayetteville Observer. "My thing is, there's a crosswalk for a reason. That’s when people get hurt."