Final Evalution: A.J. Harris

Ohio State pledge A.J. Harris continues to show improvement as he prepares for college.

Throughout his life A.J. Harris has been doubted as a basketball player because of his size. At 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds, Harris has been questioned about whether he could play college basketball at the division I level, whether he could play high-major basketball, and now whether he can be effective at Ohio State. Now his high school career is done, and after seeing him finish his season at the OHSAA Final Four, the questions keep getting answered.

Even though his Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar team fell in the OHSAA state semi-finals, it was a good day for Harris on an individual level. Playing on his future home court it was apparent that he has made some serious strides with his game, and that in the future he should be able to carve out a nice role with the Buckeyes.

The first thing that was apparent was that Harris has really improved his jumper. Now he still has a ways to go in that regard to get where he has to be, but the jump shot is coming along. Given his size, Harris has to be an effective and dangerous shooter at the college level. In high school that has always been a bit of his kryptonite. Now his release looks smoother, he looks more confident in his shot, and with that comes better results. Improvement is still needed, but it was a good sign to see his shot trending in a positive direction.

On top of that on the offensive side he still does a lot of the things well that made him such a talented prospect in the first place. Harris continues to play with tremendous pace, pushing the ball off both makes and misses, has good floor vision, and also is very good at getting into the lane and making plays after beating his man off the bounce.

With that said, the decision making does need to improve some, as Harris can sometimes drive to deep and at that point his size really works against him.

When it comes to the defensive end of the floor, Harris showed his quickness and tenacity that allowed him to get steals and turn defense into offense. Now some of that will be mitigated as he continues to play against better competition who can match his athleticism, but it is still good to see him cause issues for opponents with toughness and quickness at the high school level.

Overall there is a lot to like with Harris. He has improved his skill set, and continues to work on his game. Now his size is a limiting factor, and he has to become a very good shooter in order to really make defenses pay. With open minutes in the backcourt at Ohio State he is likely to get his Chance Early, now it is about finding a way to make those minutes productive minutes, so he can stay on the court.

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