2012's Harris bursts onto Louisville's radar

The star of last week's Adidas May Classic in Bloomington, Hamilton (IN) Southeastern 2012 standout Gary Harris has burst onto Louisville's radar. Louisville assistant Walter McCarty, who has laid the groundwork with Harris in recent weeks, is now trying to get the Cardinals in the mix with the 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard.

Gary Harris, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard from Hamilton (IN) Southeastern, is blowing up this spring.

The star of last weekends Adidas May Classic in Bloomington, Harris, a four-star 2012 prospect, has seen interest in his recruitment skyrocket in recent weeks. Harris, who already holds offers from Butler, Indiana, Illinois, Xavier, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and Ohio State, is starting to garner attention from college basketball's heavyweight programs, including Louisville.

"I was a Division 1 assistant for a long time and I have not seen a kid get this much publicity in a six week span as [Gary] is getting," said Sean Bledsoe, Harris' AAU coach.

Harris projects as a two-guard, but has a natural feel for the game and the passing skills to eventually move to the point guard position. Described as a coaches dream, Harris has a willingness to play defense and can score in a variety of ways.

Louisville is starting to show interest in four-star 2012 SG Gary Harris.
"He is really, really good," Bledsoe said. "The thing I tell people all the time is that he's good but you can't find a better kid. He's fun to be around and coach. He plays hard for me and he's just 15 years old right now."

A former assistant at Cleveland State, Bledsoe has seen Harris' game on the court mature and improvement since last summer.

"He plays like George Gervin," Bledsoe said. "A few years ago, his main m.o. was that he could shoot the ball. Since last year in the summer the biggest improvement I've seen is his aggressiveness. Gary's always been strong, but he's figured out how to be tough now. Because he's tough he does things on the court like a man. He really knows how to play."

Louisville has certainly taken notice as UofL assistant Walter McCarty has been quietly laying the groundwork for the Cardinals this spring.

"I've talked to Walter and I saw Coach [Pitino] at one of his games," Bledsoe said. "I had called a lot of people that I knew about Gary and at the time I called [Louisville] Richard [Pitino] was there. I trained (former Louisville commit) Justin Martin and Dominique Ferguson and I told him then that [Gary] was going to be as good if not better."

Rick Pitino caught a glimpse of Harris last season when the junior-to-be led Southeastern to a big win over 2011 five-star guard Marquis Teague at Pike H.S.

"I think Gary had 24 or 25 points against Pike and ended up beating them at Pike," Bledsoe said. "I think at that time [Louisville] was in the hunt to get Marquis and they put every ounce of energy into getting him and I guess at that time Gary wasn't on their 'blow up' radar."

If he's not not already, Harris should now be on Louisville's 'blow up' radar.

"Our first tournament this spring we went out to a 17 and over tournament with our 16's and won it," Bledsoe said. "Then everybody all of a sudden said, "Who is this kid? I talked to Walter during the April recruiting period and he was trying to make it up on a Friday to see Gary but had to be somewhere else."

Though Pitino hasn't spoken with Harris and his family yet, McCarty continues to build a relationship with the talented Indiana guard.

"He has not talked to Coach [Pitino] at all," Bledsoe said. "I know Walter and [Gary] are trying to set up a call and I think big Gary [Harris father] tried to call Walter today. I'm sure they're eventually going to talk on the phone but they haven't as of yet."

Bledsoe said Louisville hasn't "said anything about an offer" yet. He also said Harris appears open to all schools at this point in his recruitment.

"I think Gary is pretty open to everybody," Bledsoe said. "At the end of the day it will come down to relationships. Now people are jumping in because everybody else is and not because they've seen him. But at the end of the day, Louisville is Louisville, Kentucky is Kentucky and Indiana is Indiana and they're always going to have a chance to recruit a good player."

While Harris remains open, a few schools might have an early edge because they've been involved with his recruitment before his stock rose this spring.

"I think there are probably four or five schools who have been unbelievable [developing a relationship]," Bledsoe said, who mentioned Xavier, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana. "His parents are more concerned about the relationship with coaches and knowing how their son is going to be treated than with the schools name on the jersey."

Harris has already visited several schools, including Illinois, Vanderbilt, Butler, Xavier, Michigan State and Indiana.

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