Dion Harris and LeBron James Square Off

Michigan signee Dion Harris kept Detroit Redford in the game in the first half against Akron St. Vincent's St. Mary's this past Sunday at the Cleveland State Convention Center, but "King James" led a second half barrage to put the Redford Huskies away. And I, Sam Webb, was courtside for our GBW readers, camera in hand!

I took the opportunity Sunday to go and check out Dion Harris in action vs. one of the most ballyhooed players in high school basketball history, Lebron James. Two friends (DOTMAN and Dennis Burns) accompanied me to the Cleveland St. Convocation Center for the contest. While there, we ran into and conversated with a veritable who's who on the Michigan High School basketball scene. We bumped into Vince Baldwin of www.prepspotlight.com (Vince will be contributing to the site in the near future), Chris Grier (and Olu Famutimi), Tommy Amaker, Charles Ramsey as well as a few NBA scouts.

The first thing I noticed about Dion Harris is that he's bigger than he was last year. It looks as if he's spent some considerable time in the weight room. That allowed him to go up a lot stronger when he made one of his patented drives to the basket. After falling to a double-digit deficit (11-0 to start the game), Redford staged a furious comeback powered by their full court press and frequent trips to the free throw line by Harris. The Huskies were able to cut the lead to 27-21 and saddle James with three fouls. Redford's fortunes however did not remain as pleasant.


Dion takes his man off the dribble


Dion Prepares to take the step back jumper


Dion goes up for the dunk

James came out in the third quarter and took his game to another level. He hit 13 points in the stanza behind a variety of moves to the basket, jumpers and rim rattling dunks. He covered Dion part time in the first half, but concentrated his defensive efforts exclusively on Harris in the second. As a result, Dion finished with 18 points on 5 of 16 shooting. Behind James' increased output St. Vincent's St. Mary's built an insurmountable lead and eventually won 76-41.


James prepares to lockdown Dion


Dion and Lebron jostle for position


Lebron goes to the basket

Dion's effort in this game was very evident. Many have accused him of being lackadaisical in the past based on the ease with which he plays the game, but in this contest there was no question that the effort was there. Shooting percentage aside, Dion looks to have a good jumper and a very nice feel for the game. He also possesses a knack for getting to the basket and drawing fouls and great leadership qualities. One of the things he will have to get better at doing is going to his left off of the dribble. Help defense frequently rotated to his right anticipating his move in that direction. Once Dion becomes more adept at going left, he'll be all the more deadly.

Speaking of deadliness, King James is definitely already that on the basketball court. This kid truly was leaps and bounds above every other player out there. It was readily apparent that his court and game awareness was at a level that surpassed everyone else's. It seemed as if he often had to fight off the frustration caused by his teammates not being able to see the things he saw or finish plays that he set up. However, to his credit, he did not berate them and actually showed a level of patience not present in many athletes his age. Simply put, this kid is definitely everything they hype him up to be. He's big, strong, quick, and can dribble and pass like a point guard. It's true that much of the attention was focused upon his platinum colored Hummer on chrome rims, but this kid's game was the story for me. If he works hard, the sky is the limit. If and when he develops a more consistent jumper, look out!


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