Katherine Harry: A Whirlwind Winner

Katherine Harry had a busy four years playing basketball at DePaul; her post-collegiate life has been as busy as those hardwood days.

Katherine Harry played at DePaul from 2009-12. She holds the McGrath-Phillips Arena single game record for most rebounds with 20 and is tied for first in blocked shots with five. She led DePaul in blocked shots in her last three seasons and in rebounding her final two seasons. She is the only player in DePaul women’s basketball history to score 1,100 points, grab more than 1,150 rebounds, and notch at least 140 blocked shots in a career.

And there was the trip of being in Chicago on a Mon. and being in Greece three days later. Harry initially played for Kronos AD in Greece and is currently with Trieste in the A1 League, the top women’s league in Italy.

In Italy, she is tied with ex-Stanford All-America Chiney Ogwumike for first in rebounds per game at 12.0 and is No. 6 in steals per game with 2.8. She was named one of the top performers for the week of Oct. 24 with 12 points, 18 rebounds, and two assists.

The following is from a recent interview with Katherine:

Scout: How did you go from DePaul to playing basketball overseas?

KH: Towards the end of my senior season I was tossing around the idea of wanting to continue my playing career or not. Everybody I talked to thought I should give it a shot and try out. I then got hooked up with an agent. I did not hear from him all summer about teams being interested, so I thought I was going to be passed up and have to find a job back home. He called me on a Monday morning in the middle of September with an offer for a team in Athens, Greece. I signed the contract that afternoon and I was on a plane to Greece on Thursday morning.

Scout: You played against top notch talent in Connecticut, Notre Dame, and Stanford while at DePaul. How is the play different in Italy from what you experienced in college?

The play over here is significantly different from playing in college. There are only one or two Americans on a team, but they are the best players on the floor roughly 75 percent of the time, so the defense keys on those players and kind of ‘dares’ the European players to make plays. At DePaul we ran a ton of offensive and defensive sets. On my team this year, we have two offensive plays and a majority of the time we don’t run them. My team is very young; our starting point guard turned 18 one week ago. Our team is so young that it is hard for them to have game experience. I was accustomed in college to playing with [DePaul players Anna Martin, Brittany Hrynko, Keisha Hampton, Felicia Chester, and Deirdre Naughton].

Scout: Ex-Stanford players Kayla Pedersen and Chiney Ogwumike along with ex-Duke star Tricia Liston currently play in the A1 League. Do you get the sense that their games have changed over there, or is basketball the same wherever it is played?

KH: So far I have only played against Chiney Ogwumike. We play Tricia Liston’s team [soon]. For the most part I think their games have stayed the same. They also adapt their games to what their teams need. Kayla Pedersen at Stanford had the freedom to step outside, but in the video we watched of her over here she was almost solely in the paint or near the paint. She just fills the needs of her team.

Scout: DePaul coach Doug Bruno is always big on pointing out historical sites when the team travels. Did that give you a better appreciation for some of the beauty you saw in Greece and Italy?

KH: Coach Bruno always tries to fit in some history lesson whenever possible, and I definitely appreciated that. Since I have lived in Europe, I have tried to see as much as possible because I don’t know when or if I will ever be back. My mom visited me when I lived in Athens and we took a day trip to Olympia, the birth place of the Olympic Games. Last year I went to Rome, Istanbul, and Barcelona. I was never really interested in history, but seeing all of these places first hand is amazing.

Scout: How has what you learned about basketball at DePaul helped your play over there?

KH: Going in to my freshman year at DePaul, I thought I knew a lot about basketball. My high school coach did a great job of preparing me for college, but when I got there and when we started practice I figured out quickly that I needed to learn a lot more. Coach [Bart] Brooks and Coach Bruno did so much to help me to learn how to use my body [when rebounding]. I just do whatever I can to help my team win- scoring or rebounding- I want our team to be successful.

Scout: I believe you played for three coaches in one month in Greece, and that the scoreboard did not work much of the time. How is the game different in Greece and/or Italy from what you experienced in the United States?

KH: When I first got to Greece, I had one coach for one weekend before he was fired. His replacement left as well. We then had another coach for one or two weeks before the coach we finished the season with finally got there. Each coach had a different philosophy, so it was hard to get into a rhythm. Add in that everything was not in English and I could not understand a thing. I always had someone translating for me. Not much about the game itself is different. The biggest thing is learning how to play well and how to mesh with your teammates. That does not happen quickly, and sometimes not at all. At DePaul I was fortunate to play on teams where everybody played well together.

Scout: How long will you continue to play over there and what is next after basketball?

KH: I am not sure how much longer I am going to play. When I am finished playing, I will either become a graduate assistant or try and find an assistant coaching job. I always said I never wanted to coach, but since I have been out with an injury and have noticed things in practice, this is giving new light to that possibility. I definitely want to coach at the college level.

Scout: You worked at coach Bruno’s basketball camp over the past summer. Was that a reflection of the Vincentian belief of giving back because the DePaul teams perform a lot of community service?

KH: I have been working the Doug Bruno Camp since the summer of my freshman year at DePaul. It is so satisfying to watch a group of girls go from not knowing a drill or not knowing how to play basketball well, to watching them work hard every day for three or four days and by the end they are such better basketball players. The past two years I have been a “Dorm Mom” with [ex-DePaul three-time All-America Khara Smith]. We are the ones the girls come to when they are locked out of their rooms or when they get homesick during the night.

Scout: Were you able to watch, via Skype or otherwise, DePaul’s run into the Sweet 16 last year. If so, what were your thoughts of the team having been one year removed from playing at DePaul?

KH: I was able to watch some of the games last year. The time difference was major. A 7:00 p.m. start in Chicago equaled a 3:00 a.m. start in Athens. My mom drove to Nebraska to watch the Sweet 16 game [versus Texas A&M], and she would FaceTime me from outside the hotel. We were on FaceTime while the DePaul women were getting on the bus to head to the game, so I got to cheer them on and wave hello. It was awesome to watch them have so much success. I am so proud of each and every player on the team.

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