Kamera Harris, an unsigned Class of 2016 post, is getting a lot of attention now from SEC schools, including Tennessee. She has one official visit left. Go inside for the latest on Lady Vols recruiting.
Kamera Harris, a 6-3 post from Dutchtown High School in Hampton, Georgia, just south of Atlanta, nearly inked a letter of intent last fall during the early signing period. She was happy with her offers and had taken four official visits. Harris was ready for the recruiting process to be completed.
But her mother, Karen Bailey, counseled her daughter to be absolutely certain of her decision before she committed to a college.
Harris decided to wait for the regular signing period in April. That decision turned out to be fortuitous, as she now has legitimate interest from Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi State, Wisconsin and other schools.
She made visits last fall to College of Charleston, Oregon State, Grand Canyon University and UMass. Middle Tennessee was hoping to get her fifth and final visit.
But Harris told InsideTennessee on Tuesday that she would make Knoxville her last allowed official visit. The date is to be determined and will come after Tennessee finishes its run in the NCAA tourney, which the Lady Vols of course hope is April.
The emergence of Tennessee, along with other SEC schools, turned what initially seemed to be a nearly completed recruiting process into one that needed a lot more consideration. The schools that had been recruiting Harris for a long time naturally have reminded her of that fact.
“I have heard that a lot lately,” Harris said. “Some coaches are saying, ‘We’ve been here.’ But at the end of the day, I want to do what’s best for me, especially education-wise. It is where I feel comfortable.
“Although I have been recruited by a lot of schools in the past, if I am more comfortable at Tennessee, then I will go to Tennessee.”
That, however, doesn’t mean that Harris will be in orange. Wisconsin also is a legitimate contender, and Harris will hear out all of the schools who recruited her. She also needs an extended visit in Knoxville to make any determination.
“I want to make the best decision,” Harris said. “Wherever I go, I plan to be there for the next four years.”
For that season, Harris wants to be sure the selected school is the right fit.
“It’s taking a little longer now, but it’s a good situation,” she said.
Harris and her mother made the quick trip to Knoxville for an unofficial visit for the last regular season game against Georgia. They also traveled to Jacksonville, Fla., to watch the SEC tourney and saw two of Tennessee’s three games there.
“I love the fan support,” Harris said.
When asked what was her top priority in choosing a college, Harris’ answer was direct: “Education is the first thing that comes to my mind.”
“The second thing is team chemistry. I want to go somewhere where I like the girls, of course. You are playing with them. Character matters a lot to me.”
Harris had the chance to talk to Head Coach Holly Warlick on the trip to Knoxville.
“We sat down and we talked to each other for a good minute,” said Harris, using a colloquial expression for a longer period of time. “She explained to me that they need posts. I am trying to weigh everything.”
As a sophomore, Harris set a national single-game record in 2014 with 28 blocks in a game. Brittney Griner set the previous record of 25 blocks as a senior at Nimitz High School in Houston, Texas, in 2008.
“My biggest advantage is shot-blocking,” said Harris, who also will get on the glass. “I can knock down a shot, but right now I am trying to get my defense and my offense up to the same level. I know I can go in and make an impact. I plan to work hard.”
The right fit and a strong work ethic are two important factors in having college success, and Harris, whose answers were expansive, especially for a high schooler, made it clear she intended to get to work.
The trip to Tennessee was short, so Harris wants a longer weekend to spend time with the team and tour the campus.
She already is familiar with Te’a Cooper, Andraya Carter and Diamond DeShields, the Lady Vols’ trio from the Peach State.
“When I went back in the locker room, we were all talking about where we are from and she (Carter) was like, ‘We’re all Georgia,’ ” Harris said.
Harris said the biggest impression left on her during the first visit was “Coach Holly’s character.”
“In the game situation, she has a lot of composure,” Harris said. “I think that is really what stood out to me from a basketball standpoint. That made an impression on me. I think that is a great thing.”