2012 Guard Gary Harris A Prodigy

There were a large number of outstanding players in attendance at the recent Illinois basketball team shootout camp, but not all of them were upperclassmen. Among the younger players, 14 year old Gary Harris put on an impressive display. He showed a savvy and ability far beyond his years.

Hamilton Southeastern High School is in Fishers, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis. Gary Harris helped them advance farther in the state tournament than ever before.

"It's a 4A school," Harris explains. "We did good last year. We won our first sectional and made the regional, so that was a good step for us. We hope to do as well this year. We are working hard in the gym so we can get farther this year than we did last year."

Harris minimized his own role on that team, but the freshman was an important cog in their attack according to coach Brian Satterfield.

"He was a key. We won sectionals for the first time in school history this past year, and he was a key reason for that. He's only the second freshman since I've been there that's played varsity minutes for us. He started three-fourths of the season."

Satterfield holds nothing back in discussing Harris' attributes.

"What he can do at both ends of the floor is what separates him from a lot of guys, especially for his age. His ability to defend, his ability to shoot the ball, run the floor, and make good decisions is special. He's a kid that has a positive future."

Harris swished a three pointer in the last few seconds of Hamilton's contest with Brehm Prep to tie the score and send it to sudden death. He was cool under pressure, but he was humble about his accomplishment afterward.

"Yeah, it was fun. I liked it."

Satterfield expanded on Harris' coolness under fire.

"You can just see his composure for us this past year. As an incoming freshman, people put a lot of pressure on him. He had that composure, he could handle the ball. With that pressure on him, he could create space.

"The thing that was impressive was he would take the ball and always get in the triple threat position and understood from a fundamental standpoint what he needed to do to get the job done."

Harris, who turns 15 in September, gets his ability naturally.

"His mom Joy Holmes played at Purdue, and her jersey's up in the rafters there," Satterfield relates. "He's got some good genes to build on, and I know he comes from a great family. They're on him to make sure he does things the right way on and off the court."

Harris agrees his outside shot draws attention, but he wants to have an all-around game.

"Yeah, right now I'd say that. I just need to work on my driving and dribbling more. And my strength. I just have to keep working so I can see more improvement."

The 6'-3" combo guard is getting a lot of AAU experience with Team Indiana, playing higher than his age group.

"My AAU season is going good right now. It's helped me out a lot because I'm playing up. I'm playing with the 16 and under. Our team is full of 15 and 16 year old's, so I get a lot of playing time."

He is unsure how far away from home he might wish to go for college. Despite having close ties to colleges within Indiana, Harris has a strong interest in a school two hours West of his home.

"Illinois is definitely sticking out. As far as other schools, I've gotten an offer from Indiana."

Those who watched Hamilton Southeast play Sunday saw only a part of their regular team. While Harris plays an increasingly important role, several of his teammates were missing according to Satterfield.

"We've had some injuries. We had two guys that played varsity for us last year, one's still playing golf. They're hopefully gonna play for the state finals. We have another guy that started for us last year, he's here in a cast.

"We had a few other guys we thought we might bring this weekend, but they got injured this past week. We've been working on some things for the past four days. I think we're making good progress. We're gonna change a few things offensively, so we're behind in that aspect. Our main goal coming into this weekend was on the defensive end."

Harris will have help this winter, but he will be a major factor in his high school team's success. And he will draw a crowd of colleges as he matures. It is unclear how many scholarships Illinois might have for the 2012 class, but without doubt Harris will be at or near the top of their wish list.

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