Harrison Talks About Visiting OSU

D'Angelo Harrison, his grandparents and the coach of his summer team made the trip to Oklahoma State last Thursday and Friday, and then made the three-hour drive from their home near Houston to Baylor on Saturday and Sunday. In this GoPokes.com exclusive, we visit not only with Harrison but also his grandmother, Angela Harris, about the hectic four-day weekend and the visits to OSU and Baylor.

The 6-3, 181-pound combo guard, who is ranked as the 60th-best overall prospect in the Class of 2011, took official visits to Oklahoma State and Baylor over the weekend, but says he still plans to make official trips to St. John's (N.Y.) and Marquette before making a final decision.

Harrison made the trip to Oklahoma State last Thursday and was in the attendance for the Cowboy football team's thrilling 38-35 victory over Texas A&M at Boone Pickens Stadium.

"It was a great game. I loved it," said Harrison.

The atmosphere inside Boone Pickens Stadium impressed the senior at Dulles High School in Sugar Land, Texas, and the Oklahoma State basketball coaching staff reminded him that Gallagher-Iba Arena is often referred to as the "rowdiest arena in the country."

"Yeah, they talked a lot about that. They said to imagine all the fans inside the football stadium trying to fit in the basketball arena, and how loud it gets. That's going to be crazy," said Harrison.

Harrison said that his priorities were getting to see the apartments where the Cowboys live and also getting to spend some quality time with the current players. He accomplished both of those on the trip.

He says that his hosts were Marshall Moses and Ray Penn, and that he really liked the OSU living arrangements.

"I kinda got chance to talk to Marshall and Ray Penn a lot. They basically expressed that I need to make my decision based on where I'm going to be the happiest ... but they let me know that they love their school," he said.

Harrison and his grandparents also had the opportunity to visit with OSU President Burns Hargis and meet with members of the academic support staff.

"I was very, very impressed with the president of the school," said Angela Harris, the grandmother of Harrison. "He made us feel comfortable. He was really, really impressive."

Another highlight was touring the Cowboys new locker room facilities which are nearly completion. "Oh, wow. They have some great facilities. The facilities are truly state of the art, and the locker room isn't even finished yet. That was an unbelievable site," said Harrison's grandmother.

But when she was asked about the highlight of the trip, she didn't hesitate.

"I really enjoyed spending time and visiting with the coaches – coach (Travis) Ford, coach (Butch) Pierre, coach (Steve) Middleton, coach (Chris) Ferguson ... they were all very hospitable. They treated my husband and I very well," she said. "It was good to be around some coaches that include their families. They just really showed us a good time.

"I've talked to all of those guys on the phone, and coach (Travis) Ford and coach (Butch) Pierre have been in my home, but we were able to meet all of their families, and see how they include their families in everything they do, and that's important to me. The camaraderie among the coaches and their families was the highlight of the trip for me.

"We had a tremendous time. It was a great trip." Angela Harris said.

Seeing the families of Ford, Pierre, Middleton, Ferguson and other staff members together and enjoying themselves is important to Harris, who is Harrison's grandmother but has raised him since he was young.

"He's a family guy. He's used to being around family, and has always had a strong family life. Not only are we his grandparents but we are completely involved in his life... we go to the school and involves ourselves with the teachers.

"But this is his first time leaving home, and even though it's his choice where he's going, it's going to become his extended family. It has to be the right place with the right people. Sure, we want it to be a good basketball program which will help him achieve his goal of reaching the next level but it also has to be a place with coaches who will help him become the man that he needs to be. I feel real confident they have that at Oklahoma State," said Angela Harris.

"(The OSU coaches) all call me Grandma, and I call each of them by their first name. I like them all."

But she insists that no decision has been made as to where Harrison will sign in November, and a decision won't be made until he returns from his official visits later this month to St. John's and Marquette.

"I'm not sure (when we'll make a decision) but I do know that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and he's taking his time. There's no reason to rush into a decision. It has really got overwhelming and un-nerving, and really kind of annoying, but as a family and with a couple of his close mentors, we've talked to him and encouraged him to take his time. There's no need to rush into this. We want him to make the decision based upon where he thinks he can be the happiest.

"We've told him that we're here to help him and counsel him but it's going to be his decision, and he has to do what he feels is best for him. Where he goes, he knows he will be totally supported by us. Wherever he goes, we'll be there ready to watch him play," said Alice Harris.

She said that distance will not be a factor in the decision. "Not a factor at all. The closest school (Baylor) is probably the hardest to get to. You can get on a plane and get to Milwaukee in two hours," she said.

Harris is proud of her grandson and admits it will be tough when he leaves for college next year.

"He's a pretty special young man. He's a good student. He's liked not only by his teachers but by everyone at school. He just exudes confidence. He's a leader. I think he'll be a pretty special leader on his (basketball) team this year," she said.

"He's a very confident young man. He just turned 17 in August, and for a 17-year-old, he has a lot of confidence. He's a big-hearted kind of guy who's not afraid to show his emotions, on and off the court.

Even around his church and around the neighborhood, the other kids look up to him. He's a good role model. He's pretty independent. He does all of his own laundry and picks up after himself. I don't have to pick up after him," she added.

Harris gave the visit to Oklahoma State a superior rating.

"To be honest with you, they were a 10 (on a scale of 1 to 10). Everything about a school that we want ... they've got a great academic program, the coaches were right on ... but there's really not much different about any of these last four schools that I don't like.

"I get to meet the coaches and get to know them as people, not necessarily as coaches, and I've really enjoyed the relationships that I've started to build with all of them. He can't make a bad choice. Those four schools are all good schools and he really can't make a bad choice."

GoPokes Top Stories