Playing with the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Summer League, Harrell will have the chance to impress and that’s all he’s ever wanted.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “It’s another chance for me to show what I can do and prove that I belong in the NBA. It’s what I have been working for all my life, just a chance and an opportunity. I’m thankful and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Transferring to Auburn from the University of Virginia after a very successful high school career in Montgomery, Harrell had a monster final season on the Plains under the guidance of first-year Coach Bruce Pearl and his staff. Becoming the first Tiger to lead the league in scoring (18.5 points per game) since 1994, Harrell also led the league in three-point field goal percentage (.445) and also in made three-pointers per game (2.8).
That kind of play piqued the interest of NBA teams, allowing Harrell to have workouts across the country. While he didn’t get drafted, Philadelphia saw enough out of the shooting guard to earn a shot in the summer league, something Harrell said is good enough for him.
“It was a great experience just going and flying all over the world trying to make my dreams come true,” Harrell said. “I had really good workouts and good feedback from a lot of teams. Now it’s just about going out there and making a statement when I play. I need to continue to improve and show that I belong, and I think that’s what I’m going to do when I get out there. I know I can play and I know I belong.
“It was probably one of my best workouts during the summer,” he added of his time with the Philadelphia coaches. “I wasn’t shocked that they wanted me to come on their summer league team. I’m just looking forward to it. It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to playing.”
Playing on the next level is a dream for just about any player who picks up a basketball for the first time, but for a player like Harrell that has spent much of his life devoted to improving his skills on the court, making the NBA is a lifelong quest. Now that he’s one step closer to living out his dreams Harrell said it’s all about taking advantage of his opportunity.
“In basketball you have those lottery picks and guys you know for sure will end up signing during the draft, but your second round guys pretty much have to make the team just like guys who don’t get drafted,” Harrell said. “To not get drafted wasn’t a big deal for me. I sort of knew in my situation that I probably wasn’t going to get drafted. I knew I was going to have an opportunity and that’s all I ever wanted. Now that I’ve got it I’m going to make the most of it.”
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