SOR Profile: 2010 Recruit Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris has nearly three full years of high school left, but he has already drawn the interest of many Division I schools. It appears a certainty that if he continues to develop at the rate that he has so far, he will be among the most elite and highly-regarded players in the country in just another few years. He may not be too far from that already. He was also a recent visitor at RU.

"Every tournament that he's played in so far this summer, he's seen a box and one. Every time he didn't see one, he went off". Those are the words of Torrel Harris, describing the recent play of his son, Tobias Harris, over the past few months. It is perhaps extraordinary that a young man just entering the 10th grade can already possess such a deadly shooting stroke, but Torrel Harris assured me that despite whatever God-given talents his son may possess, it hasn't come without much hard work.

"Tobias shoots 3,000 jump shots a day, and he's not finished until he makes 1, 000", Torrel said to me matter-of-factly. "I said to him that if he just wants to be an average shooter, he can shoot 100, if he wants to be an OK shooter, he can shoot 300, if he wants to be merely good – 300 to 500 … but if he wants to be a great shooter, that's what he's got to do. The great ones put the work in", he said.

In addition to his dad (a former college player), Tobias Harris apparently hasn't needed to look very far to find inspiration from people who've shown what hard work on a basketball court can eventually do for you: his cousin is Channing Frye (recently traded from the New York Knicks to the Portland Trail Blazers), who was the 8th overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft. Also, Torrel Harris claims NBA Hall-of-Famer George Gervin, a four-time NBA scoring champion and one of the greatest pure shooters the game has ever seen, as his best friend.

So when you can spend time over the summers refining your shooting stroke with an NBA legend, and when you put in the kind of hard work Tobias Harris has done, it's no wonder your jump shot is money. But lest anyone think that scoring is what this young man's game is all about, here's another quote from Torrel: "He's not the kind of kid that's going to excel in a lot of these all-star games they play these days because he's so unselfish". Apparently, however automatic Tobias Harris' jump shot is, Torrel assured me it's not even what he does best.

"Seeing the floor and setting other people up – that's what he does best", said Torrel. "Tobias is very unselfish; he's the kind of player that will make that extra pass", he said. Indeed, it seems that if Tobias has inherited – and is having instilled in him - much from his father. "I'm an old school guy", said Torrel, "I like to bring back old school basketball". He went on, echoing a sentiment that has often been said to me: "The guys today, they lack fundamentals. The fundamentals are what we're working on with Tobias". It's worth repeating then, for those just being introduced to this young man for the first time, what the essence of his game appears to be all about: hard work and fundamentals. In speaking with his dad, George Gervin was not the only retired Hall-of-Famer he mentioned; John Havlicek and Larry Bird were also brought up as players obviously worth emulating. "The way those guys moved without the ball, the amount of time they put in, that's what we're trying to do with Tobias. Be the first person in the gym and the last one to leave".

He went on: "What you do in practice is what you do on the floor. If you work hard in practice, you will work hard during games". So here we have a young man, 6'6 and ½ and still growing, already one of the nations best shooters, who can handle and can pass, can rebound (Torrel said he averaged 15-16 boards during the recent IS8 action), and who just keeps working hard and trying to get better, who's been personally tutored by an NBA Hall of Famer and can practice with a current pro, who's already more than held his own against the top upperclassmen in the country – so if you're wondering where does this leave Rutgers, the answer apparently is quite well.

"I've known Craig Carter for many years", said Torrel. "I've known him since he was going to the Dyckman Youth Organization. I have a very good relationship with him, and so does Tobias. In fact, we have a good relationship with all the coaches, with Fred Hill, everyone. Torrel said he and Tobias were at the recent RU-Navy football game, and that "it was great". He said that Tobias commented on how "the fans really supported RU". As for Tobias recruitment, it's worth mentioning that this won't be Torrel Harris' first experience handling such an affair. It seems Tobias has an older sister, Tesia Harris, who's now at Delaware.

"With Tesia, the coaches had been recruiting her since the 8th grade. They were there for practically every game. Some schools tried to get in late, and they didn't have a chance. My daughter chose Delaware because the coaches had a game plan for her both athletically and academically. They were honest. It came down to a relationship with the coaches, and I believe it's going to be that way with Tobias as well".

And as for Rutgers and Tobias, while Torrel said that Tobias himself hasn't really thought much about it yet, he did say this: "I want to make sure that the coaches know hat he can do and what he can't do. I want to know, like Tesia, what kind of a game plan they have for him athletically and academically". While acknowledging that schools such as Louisville, UConn, Syracuse, Indiana, Villanova, and St John's are all already interested, he said, a bit emphatically, "Rutgers is going to be there. They've been there the longest already".

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