Lutz Lands Juco Guard

Dijuan Harris knew what he had to do in order to return to his hometown. After spending a season at Hillsborough Junior College, he's ready to return.

Last season, Dijuan Harris wasn't ready to be recruited by the Charlotte 49ers. The 5-foot-10 point guard, who played at Victory Christian, didn't quite have himself prepared for the rigors of college basketball. Harris, a qualifier, found out there's more to the game than what happens on the court.

The point guard enrolled at Hillsborough Junior College in Tampa where he spent a season preparing to be recruited by the 49ers.

"I worked for everything I got and it took a lot of hard of work and it paid off," Harris said. "Not only did (junior college) help me out mature but it gave me the college life early. I didn't take the easy way out and go to prep.

"A lot of prep schools don't let you see what college is going to be about. I went to junior college so I can see what the next level of the bigger universities are going to be like. It showed me how to manage time. It was a challenge but I wanted to do it so I can play basketball."

At Hillsborough, Harris' game exploded. Though he spent only one season there (he's an academic qualifier with 3 years remaining in college), he maxed out his time.

"It took a whole year to pay off. It really did. I went from not getting recruited by hardly anyone at all to going to juco and winning the conference and making first team all-state … Rick Ball said if I would have come back I would have been the No. 1 point guard in juco basketball in the state of Florida."

Seeing the evolution of the player, Charlotte pounced on him. For Harris, it was the perfect match.

"It's real early and I have about 15 schools that are showing interest. But, I'm a hometown kid and I always wanted to be a 49er. Charlotte is like my Duke and North Carolina. It might not be Duke and Carolina but it's my Duke and Carolina. Through it all Coach Lutz has a winning program every year."

For Harris, the decision to attend junior college instead of prep school, though it cost him a year of eligibility, was the right choice. He's already got a year of college under his belt and in his mind; it made all the difference in the world.

"Yes, I lost a year of eligibility but I still have three left. If you aren't Tywon Lawson or a big name, a lot of kids don't play anyway (as freshmen). It's a learning experience. I started and played the whole season. Now when I go to my university I challenge for major minutes."

Harris is a poster boy for the juco experience, especially for kids who are in good academic standing when they arrive at a JC. "I proved a lot of people wrong. I really took everything in and I worked hard. I busted my tail and I did it.

"A lot of kids take the easy road and they don't see their future. They look at today and not tomorrow. (Juco) made me become a man."

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