PF Harrison Schaen

If you've followed hoops recruiting at all these past few years, you know the name of Harrison Schaen. He's been on the national radar for quite some time, and Stanford's radar just as long with his high academic predilections. I had the chance to watch him more times than any other player in Vegas a couple weeks back, and also had the chance to talk with him about academics, his businesses, his basketball and Stanford.

PF/SF Harrison Schaen (profile)
Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA)
Ht: 6-8  Wt: 195

Harrison Schaen has been one of the most high profile recruits in the country for almost two years now, with such strong showings in his sophomore year that he was making top 10 if not top 25 lists for his class from recruiting gurus.  But Harrison had the misfortune of breaking his foot last summer, and he dipped out of the spotlight as an "elite" recruit in the eyes of those same evaluators.  He still looks like a top 100 national player to me, though his fall from grace in the recruiting rankings has been a little overdone.  Harrison has a lot of skills both inside and outside.  Under the hoop, he has a very comfortable short jumper, which he gets off easily with his quick elevation.  I think his short to midrange jumper could be more effective if he could add a little more touch, and not shoot them on such a straight line, but it's hard to argue with his effectiveness.  He has good hands and is nimble under the basket.  He's one of those big guys with dexterity to make plays in traffic, not at all stiff.  While Harrison can score in bunches inside, his shooting range and touch are intriguing.  He has a nice stroke out beyond the three-point line, though he is more of a spot shooter today.  He has a good handle for his size, but you're not going to see him create a shot off the dribble right now.  The concern with his overall game is consistency - Schaen can seriously impress with his skills in flashes, but in watching 4 or 5 games of his, I never saw any sustained high-level play.  Indeed, he completely disappeared for stretches of time.

   

PrepWestHoops ranked Harrison 7th in the West at the power forward position three months ago, behind some names familiar to Booties in this recruiting season like Sean Phaler, Ekene Ibekwe and Chad Burger.  Affirming Schaen's position as one of the top juniors in the West, Cal-Hi Sports named him last month as an All-State Underclassmen - i.e. top 20 in his class.  In the recent Las Vegas Desert Shootout, he was named Co-Tournament MVP along with recent Cal commitment Wesley Washington.  There is no doubt that Harrison Schaen is a talented kid with a lot of skills and potential, but it's difficult to see how much upside he will develop and deliver.  The Pac-10 schools on him are led by Stanford, USC and Arizona, with Cal also in the mix.  But with his high academic abilities and very high academic focus, the Ivies back East are crossing their fingers that the D-I schools out West will pass on Harrison to give them a shot.  In fact, one Ivy League coach in Vegas half-jokingly discouraged me from writing up Harrison with the hopes that he will slip through the cracks their way.

   

I don't know where Stanford's ultimate evaluation of Schaen will fall, but I do know from talking with the young man and watching him carry himself that he is a superb cultural fit for the Farm.  He has a great maturity, ambition and entrepreneurial streak that frankly scream out Stanford - completely independent of any basketball considerations.  He carries himself in much the same manner on the court as well, with a hint of Casey Jacobsen in him.  Harrison is very forward in conducting discussions with the refs after calls and no-calls, and he acts like an assistant coach on the floor and in the huddle.

   

Harrison is in the process of taking visits right now, already having hit USC and now headed to Arizona this weekend.  Next weekend, he will take a visit to Stanford, followed by a swing to the Ivies and East Coast.  His ambition is to gather enough information to have his decision by the middle of the summer, possibly announcing his verbal at the Nike Camp in Indianapolis.  I had the chance to catch up with Harrison after one of his early games in Vegas a couple weeks back, and had the pleasure of sharing this interview with him...

The Bootleg:  The first thing I wanted to ask you, Harrison, is if you are a little under the weather?  You looked like you were grabbing your throat a lot, and were hacking throughout the game.
Harrison Schaen:  Yeah.  My mother has bronchitis.  All my teammates have the flu.  My girlfriend has some kind of sickness.  Yeah, but I don't know what exactly I have right now.  All I know is that I feel pretty bad.  But coughing or no coughing, you have to get out there and play.

The Bootleg:  Do you feel it affected you out there today?
Harrison Schaen:  Oh, yeah.  It was holding me back a lot, but I just tried to play through it.  You saw in the second half, I finally got my wind back.  I've been in bed the past week...

The Bootleg:  That's exactly what I wanted to ask you.  I saw you hit a real stride midway through the second half, and it really turned on for you.  What changed for you?
Harrison Schaen:  I just got my wind back all of a sudden.  I don't know how my body works, but it just overcame that coughing and hacking and what-not.  Just played through it - I guess I turned it up.

The Bootleg:  How would you evaluate, sickness aside, your game today?  What worked well and what didn't work well?
Harrison Schaen:  When I don't have my stamina, I don't play my 'A' game.  My whole game revolves around my quickness.  I'm not physically as strong as some players out there, but I'm usually quicker than most people like that.  When I'm held down like that, though, I can't play my 'A' game.  I feel that once I break this sickness, I'll be able to play 100%

The Bootleg:  Can you tell me what you were able to do this past junior year?  What were some stats, highlights for you?
Harrison Schaen:  I was averaging a double-double basically the whole year, aside from the whole beginning when I came off my broken foot.  I was averaging about 12 rebounds a game, and maybe about 12 points as well.  That was a big contribution to the team.  Next year I'm going to play outside more as a 3-man.  That's what Coach (Gary) McKnight told me I should be able to do.  Also with this team, as soon as (Ruben) Boykin gets back here tomorrow, he'll be playing down low more and I can play more outside.  I've been working on my inside game all year, and now I want to work outside.

The Bootleg:  What are you looking forward to doing this summer?  Do you know tournaments and events you'll be playing?
Harrison Schaen:  I know next weekend and the weekend after that we'll be playing in Houston.  Then Memorial Day weekend, we'll be playing back in North Carolina.  Middle of June I'll be going to the NBPA camp.  After that, I'm going to the USA camp.  After that, the Nike camp.  Then a week or off, then to Vegas with Mater Dei.  I think that's about it.  Oh, and playing in the Big Time actually with Belmont Shore.

The Bootleg:  What parts of your game are you trying to add or develop, now that you're heading into your senior year with all the scholarship focus and attention from college coaches?
Harrison Schaen:  I want to utilize my quickness now.  I want to play outside and take it to the hole more.  I want to work on my handle - my dribbling ability.  My outside game.  My whole jumpshot.  I've been playing in the Rockfish League and shooting three-pointers, taking it outside more, to the basket more - as opposed to just playing with my back to the basket.  I want to utilize my quickness more, as I said before, and just play with my face to the basket more.

The Bootleg:  Can you tell me a little bit about your recruitment?  Who has been giving you the most attention?  How are you reacting to these schools?
Harrison Schaen:  I know the Pac-10 schools have been looking at me more than any other conference.  And that's where I want to be because I'm a California kid and I love the weather.  I can't handle the East Coast weather - too cold. (laughs)  Stanford has been looking at me a lot.  Arizona, USC, Cal, San Diego - all the Pac-10 schools.  Reacting?  Well, I'll just take a look at every school and see what they have to offer.  I'm not going to make a commitment until I'm exactly sure that's where I want to make my home at, you know.

The Bootleg:  Can you give us a little preview of how the process is going to go?  Are you taking any unofficial visits this spring or summer?
Harrison Schaen:  Actually I'm visiting Arizona April 22 and I've set up meetings with Cal and USC so far.  Stanford as well.  I'm not sure when I'll be going up there.  My dad usually heads up my scheduling.  I'm going to go to Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Penn in the summertime as well.  I'm going to take an official visit to Princeton and unofficials to all the others.  That's it as far as I know.  That's all I'm looking at right now.

The Bootleg:  With schools like Stanford, Princeton and Harvard, that's certainly an academically elite group...
Harrison Schaen:  That's what I'm looking for in a school - academics over athletics.  Athletics is what I want to do as a bonus, but I want to get an education first.

The Bootleg:  Can you tell me a little bit about what your academics have been like in high school thus far?
Harrison Schaen:  I'm taking calculus and physics next year, along with AP English.  What else?... (laughs)  Right now I'm taking trigonometry, chemistry, English literature, Latin 3 - I'll be taking Latin AP next year.  US History - I want to take government next year.  I want to take business next year, but I'm not sure if I'll have enough room to fit that in.  But I know I want to major in business.

The Bootleg:  Can you share your GPA and any SAT or PSAT thus far?
Harrison Schaen:  SAT so far is a 1220, but I'm going to take it again in June along with the SAT II's.  My GPA right now is a 3.17 - I'm not that proud of it, but I'm getting back into it.  I'm gunning for a 3.6 right now, getting all B's and A's.  I'm just going to have to get it up for next year, as well.  I'd like to get a 4.0 next year.  It's just really hard with my businesses, basketball and a whole lot of stuff going on.  It's tough getting homework done in there.  I have to get time management down, you know?

The Bootleg:  What have schools like Stanford, Harvard, Princeton and Yale been telling you need to get?  Any numbers they are saying - this GPA or this SAT - to clear admissions?
Harrison Schaen:  They said my SAT score is good right now, but I'm not really happy with it right now.  They said as long as I get no C's and no D's, and maintain a B and A average, I'll be OK.  That's what I'm striving for.

The Bootleg:  You said that academics are something very important you are looking for in a school.  What are some other things you are looking for in a basketball program or a school?
Harrison Schaen:  In a school, I'm looking for small class sizes.  I like having individual attention.  That's how I work; I like having a relationship with the teacher.  I'm looking for a challenge.  I don't like learning things over again because that's when I get bored and get into a slump.  If I'm constantly being filled with new information, that's when I'm able to act the best, so to speak.  As far as basketball goes, I'm just looking for a coach who can have a good relationship with me.  Not someone who is just simply my coach.  Coach McKnight is the best example.  I mean, I love Coach McKnight.  We have a great relationship, and it shows on the court as well.  I'm just looking for a coach to give me a chance.  I hope for a coach who won't just have me play with my back to the basket, but who will play me wherever I can play.

The Bootleg:  What input have you gotten from your parents on this process?
Harrison Schaen:  They're sticking by me and telling me to take my time - not to rush into anything.  Be careful.  They want me to make the right choice for myself, as far as location, education, student body - how I'm going to fit in.  They've always been there helping me make the right choices.  My father is going to go with me on all these recruiting trips, so he can make sure I stay away from the dark side.  He doesn't want me to go to any party schools or anything like that.  My mother, she doesn't know much about basketball, but she knows what's best for me.  She knows about the whole education thing.  She makes sure I don't get caught up with the wrong crowd.  They're going to stick by me.

The Bootleg:  As you look at these schools, do you have anybody you're leaning toward?  If you had offers from all of them right now, would you have a top two or three?...
Harrison Schaen:  (laughs) I'm going to have to take those official visits first.  I have to actually see what the school has to offer.  I can't really judge them as far as basketball.  Take the NCAA Tournament that just happened.  I mean, Stanford lost in the second round, Dule lost, and Maryland won it all.  You can't just base it on the basketball school.  You have to take into account every aspect of the school in your choice.

The Bootleg:  We've seen reports before where you've said that Stanford is your favorite school.  Is that still true, or something you'd like to back off of?
Harrison Schaen:  Definitely, Stanford is like an Ivy League school on the West Coast.  What more can you ask for?  I took an unofficial visit there last year.  The campus is beautiful.  The climate is beautiful.  It's right there by San Francisco.  I have a graphic design company, and San Francisco is the best for that.  I've heard Stanford has the best program for it, as well as a great business school, too.  I love Coach Montgomery - he's a great guy.  Coach Fuller is a great assistant as well.  The facilities there are beautiful - the whole basketball court and sports complex.  The fans are crazy.  I think it's just a great school all around.  To say I graduated from Stanford is something I can be proud of my whole life.

The Bootleg:  For those who aren't familiar, can you talk about what you have done outside of school - what you've done with your graphic design company?
Harrison Schaen:  Well, I have a clothing line as well - CA Industries.  I also own a web design company called Intense Studios.  www.intensestudios.com.

The Bootleg:  (laugh) A little promotion there, Harrison?
Harrison Schaen:  (grins) Of course.  And also I'm starting to manage one of my friend's music bands.  I'm helping to produce music with that.  On top of all that, with school and basketball, I devote any spare time I have left to my girlfriend and parents.  Try to help them out around the house.

The Bootleg:  We have the big issue with kids today jumping from high school to the pros for basketball, so I have to ask you with all of these businesses at hand, are you thinking of a similar business jump for yourself? (grin)  You'll be giving up some money to go to school...
Harrison Schaen:  It's not about the money.  The money is cool, but I'm just trying to get to be the best I can be.  Once you understand every point of the business itself, and once you get all the information you can possibly get - though there's an unlimited amount of information to be had - that's when you can make the big bucks.  Until then, I'm going to keep going to school.

 
Schaen vs UCLA's Marcedes Lewis


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