Harris continues strong summer

It seems every day the past couple months Tobias Harris' name has popped up in recruiting news. If it's not about a few new offers, it's about his standout play at an elite camp or AAU event.

"It's been a busy summer," said Tobias' father, Torrel Harris, who's with him at the Super Showcase in Orlando, Fla.

Harris, a 6-foot-7 rising junior swingman from Dix Hills (N.Y.) Half Hollows Hills West, has close to 20 high-major offers, many coming in this summer. He's been on the road most weekends, attending either showcase camps or hitting the circuit with one of his AAU teams.

Yet recruiting has taken a backseat—his few unofficial visits were various camps' host schools. He hasn't begun to seriously evaluate his options.

"Tobias is only 15 years old," Torrel said. "He needs to be the best high school ballplayer he can possibly be first to prepare himself for college.

"He just appreciates the opportunity that he has and he's just taking it in stride. He's not really focusing too much on the colleges showing interest. He's more or less focused on playing basketball and just getting better. Even though it's rewarding to know college coaches like him--he thinks highly of that—he's not letting it get to him. He just keeps working on his game getting better and better."

That's not stopping a handful of the nation's top college programs from throwing their names into his recruitment. Among Harris' offers is Maryland, which offered fairly early in the process. It's a school Torrel has quite a bit of familiarity with--his older son graduated from Maryland two years ago.

"We're definitely interested in Maryland," Torrel said. "[Assistant] coach Keith Booth is a great guy, he stays in contact with Tobias as well as [assistant] coach [Chuck] Driesell. Just by those guys staying in contact, and Maryland showing an interest in Tobias, and my son going to school there, that pushes them to a more high priority list with us."

Though they haven't had a meeting with coach Gary Williams yet, Torrel has been to the Comcast Center when his daughter played there for the U.S. junior nationals.

"I've seen their facilities which are excellent," he said. "But as for sitting down and talking with coach Williams and seeing how Tobias will fit in to his plans for the future and his goal to win a national championship, we don't know nothing about that part."

At this point, there is no leader in his recruitment, Torrel said. The process of figuring out where Harris fits at the next level kicks up in October, as he'll get an opportunity to watch college basketball on TV and make visits to games and practices. Then Harris will have to do his own homework to determine where he thinks is the right situation, despite what all the college coaches tell him.

After that, it's close to making a commitment. "Our process is by next summer he's going to be able to narrow his list down and then hopefully by end of the summer make a decision," Torrel said.

Where might Harris fit best? One can make a case for just about anywhere. He's a versatile player who can score inside and outside. His big frame allows him to establish strong position down low, but he's also agile outside with a smooth handle and shot.

TSR saw him at the Boo Williams Invitational in April and rated him the No. 1 Maryland target at the tournament.

Torrel said they're looking for a particular style in college to showcase Harris' game. "More of a system that sets a lot of picks, that runs a lot. Where he can have opportunity to play outside or inside but more of a screen-and-motion-type offense," he said.

As the July evaluation period comes to a close, Harris and his Albany City Rocks AAU team have just a couple more days to make final impressions on coaches. Harris sprained his ankle on Thursday, but he is expected to play this weekend after sitting out a couple games.

There is, after all, more to prove.

"All the top coaches in the country, they let him know don't be content where you're at," Torrel said. "Try to keep pushing yourself to become better and better and better. So when you hear that from hall-of-fame coaches and great coaches, that's a good reinforcement to him to know that he's got to keep working."

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