Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino and assistant Kimani Young scouted east coast 16 and Under talent heavily last summer and offered 2017 shooting guard Jamir Harris last September. Harris visited Minnesota last week and GI caught up with him to talk about his visit, recruiting, and the Peach Jam.
Jamir is the New Jersey Playaz leading scorer at between 12 and 13 points per game and GI had a front row seat to catch Harris play three times in North Augusta. Harris is a well built two-guard standing about 6-foot-2 who has some of the quickest separation handles in his class with the ability to hit shots from distance after a dribble separation move or with his feet set in a coach called set.
The Playaz missed Peach Jam quarterfinal play by a game going 3-2 in their pool but one score losses to Spiece Indy Heat and Meanstreets kept them from their final goal. That didn’t stop the event from making an impression on Harris who in return left an impression on the many schools watching him close.
“The Peach Jam has been a great experience,” Harris told GI between games. “The competition here and atmosphere in this building is like no other. We're playing better as a whole working together on both ends of the court and its leading to good things.”
Harris came into the game as the Playaz leading scorer (12.3 points per game) and their three point weapon. Out of Jamir’s 150 EYBL shot attempts 116 of them came at the arc where Harris is one of the top three-point shooters in EYBL play making 40.5 percent of his attempts. Harris is also a 74.3 percent foul shooter.
With Minnesota needing a shooter and tough competitors (the offensive board over three CIA Bounce bigs and the Superman loose ball dive are stuck in the memory of fans) Harris fits the mold of several team needs.
After receiving his Gopher offer ten months back Harris and his parents visited Minnesota unofficially last week and it was a memorable experience for Jamir.
“My visit to Minnesota last week was great and I enjoyed the atmosphere,” said Harris. “I also enjoyed the family oriented aura that I felt throughout the coaching staff, the family, the players, and all of the people in the community.”
Harris has had a relationship with Kimani Young for a couple years now and he’s stayed in touch with Young and Pitino routinely since his offer so there is a strong mutual respect between both parties.
“I think very highly of both Richard Pitino and Kimani Young,” said Harris. “They're great people and I know they could have a positive impact on me becoming a better basketball player.”
Harris was able to do a lot in his day and a half on campus. He took in the sites of Minneapolis, the sites of the campus, looked into academic programs and facilities, and of course watched the team together.
“I was at Minnesota for two days and was able to see much of the campus,” said Harris. “We saw the athletic facilities as well as the team workout plus we met many people in the community and everyone was about Minnesota and their team. We also were off campus and went to some places around the city to see what it would be like in the community.”
Harris has earned offers from Alabama, Creighton, Seton Hall, USC, and Minnesota and GI saw most of those schools watching Jamir compete this week at the Peach Jam. Harris has also heard from Wichita State, Rutgers, SMU, and others. The four teams showing the most interest? Minnesota and some highly respected east coast academic programs.
“I’m hearing the most from Minnesota, Penn, Princeton, and Boston College right now,” Harris said.
Before heading to Minnesota for a recent visit Jamir also visited Boston College and University of Pennsylvania mid-June and he had previously made a visit to Princeton. All signs point to Harris being a high character, high academic student athlete which is another thing the Gopher staff likes about the The Patrick School student from New Jersey.
What is next for Jamir’s recruitment?
“I don't have a timetable right now on when I want to make my decision,” said Harris. “No more visits are scheduled for me at this time.”
Harris ended his Peach Jam experience with a game winner against the PSA Cardinals Friday attacking from one of the court, using a behind the back dribble separation move going right to left and getting the space to hit a trey five feet behind the arc to win the game.