For Tommy Amaker and the Michigan Wolverines, Detroit Redford's Corperryale Harris was a must have recruit. The 6-4, 165-pound combo guard was just the kind of statement player their 2007 class needed. All they had to do was convince the talented youngster that he could achieve all of his lofty goals 35-miles up I-94 in Ann Arbor. Their countless hours of hardwork finally paid off Monday afternoon when Harris phoned them and made clear his desire become a Wolverine.
"I felt in my heart that it was the best place for me," Harris said of Michigan. "I picked them over Marquette, Indiana, Miami of Florida, and Iowa. Those are basically the ones I was hearing from a whole lot, but Michigan had everything I was looking for."
Harris' significance to Michigan's class wasn't lost on Amaker and company. Not only could he serve as a catalyst for other prospects to look harder at the Maize and Blue, he can also have a tangible impact on the players currently on the roster.
"(Coach Amaker) was happy…I know that," Harris said with a chuckle. "Him and Coach Jackson both were real excited and happy. They said I have a good chance to come in and play right away. I'll play at any of the wing positions…just where ever they need me. I think I could come in and handle playing the one if they wanted me too. They also like the attitude and the heart I bring to the teams I play on."
What Amaker and most other coaches see in Harris is a player that brings much more than his game to the floor. There are better dribblers than Harris out there. There are also better shooters. However, there isn't a player in the country with more heart. He brings the type of presence to the floor that the Wolverines now lack with the departure of Daniel Horton. Though frail in stature, Harris' combination of skill and intensity make the shadow he casts much larger. Heart and effort can often be misconstrued in sports, but the line between those traits is irrelevant when speaking of Harris. He brings both to the table.
He is a player that will give everything he has every second he is on the floor - EFFORT.
He is going to stand up to any challenge on the floor…whether that means guarding the opponent's best player, delivering a message by delivering an elbow, barking at teammates to get them in line, or demanding the ball for the final shot - HEART.
His intangibles make him much more that a top 50 player for Michigan. He is an influx of attitude on a roster from which that trait is void. Harris understands that is not afraid to make his presence felt from the first day he sets foot on campus.
"I not scared of that at all," he said regarding commanding a leadership role as a freshman. "That's just how I was raised. I came from the bottom and I had to fight to get where I'm at. That's just how I am. They like me for my attitude my heart. It won't be any different once I get to Michigan."
That fighter's mentality was one of the traits GoBlueWolverine first noticed about Harris when we watched him turn in a masterful defensive performance against Tory Jackson as a sophomore back in December of 2004. Not many outside of the city of Detroit knew who he was at that time, but word slowly began leaking out. Still, other local prospects received more early notoriety. Durrell Summers, Kalin Lucas, and Alex Legion rocketed up the charts with their strong showings both at home and on the AAU circuit. Harris' name, however, wasn't mentioned in the same breath. While it bothered him, he didn't let it become a distraction. Instead, he let it fuel his hunger to get better. Nature took care of one facet of his improvement by adding two inches to his frame last summer. Harris did the rest through hard work.
"It motivated me," Harris said regarding being overlooked. "It still motivates me now. Not just specifically with Durrell, Kalin, and Alex, but also people over in different states that are up there (in the rankings) that I have seen on the circuit and I know I'm better than."
With his ranking now improved and commitment to Michigan solid, many might think that Harris is now satisfied with what he has accomplished. Wrong!
"I'm really going to work on my game," he said. "I'm going to spend all my time when I'm not in tournaments working on my game. I want our team to do better this year and Mr. Basketball is a goal of mine."