Verbal View: Chase Harler

WVU basketball commitment Chase Harler brings several different talents to the court -- attributes that allow him to fit easily into the Mountaineers' future plans.

Harler earned early notice for his shooting ability, but it would be a mistake to classify him as just an outside sniper. The 6-3 guard has played both classic guard positions over the past couple of years, and plans to continue down that path during his final two years in high school.

WHAT TO LIKE:

Harler has a build that lends him to the term "combo guard". He has some length, which allows him to shoot over defenders and elevate at the rim, but also uses that attribute to snake passes to teammates. He handles the ball well enough to play the point for his Wheeling Central High School team, but mans the two position in AAU. That double duty has allowed him to progress in skills relevant to both positions. It also wouldn't be a surprise to see him grow a bit more over the next couple of seasons.

Despite being a sophomore on a senior-laden team, Harler still led the squad to a state title as a sophomore by averaging 22 points and seven rebounds. He also produced in the clutch, scoring 30 in the final game to help the Maroon Knights to the championship. His leadership ability will be challenged this year, as seven of his teammates departed, but clearly he has the chops to meet that challenge.

It's also clear that Harler isn't just concerned with scoring. Despite playing on the perimeter in a mostly man-to-man defense, he contributed those seven boards per game to help shore up a somewhat shortish roster. He also listed working on his strength to help his defense improve, and emphasized that aspect of the game, along with his ballhandling, as items he will be concentrating on during his final two high school seasons.

POSSIBLE CONCERNS:

West Virginia

was Harler's first high major offer, so there will be some concern that the Mountaineers are taking a player without major interest elsewhere, and thus perhaps overmatched for the Big 12 level of play. There's no way to determine the validity of that viewpoint until he becomes a college athlete, of course, and it could just as easily turn out that WVU grabbed a rising star before anyone else really got into the recruiting game.

While Harler's ballhandling is good enough for his team, he'll have to improve that a bit to be a serious contender as a point guard at West Virginia. Still, with two years before he sets foot on campus, and another potential point guard arriving a year ahead of him, there won't be a great deal of pressure for him to move immediately into that spot.

OVERALL ANALYSIS:

Harler's in-state status will clearly make some observers happy, but the item they might want to point to is his versatility. While he might not be a classic break down the defense point in the mold of a Juwan Staten, his experience and work could make him a true combo guard -- a guy that can fill a role as a shooter and scorer, but also run the offense in a backup or complementary role. It's also easy to see that Harler has taken the idea of being a contributor in a variety of ways to heart, as he runs the offense for his high school team rather than playing off the ball to generate more scoring chances.

Long eying the chance to attend WVU, Harler is also very unlikely to back off his commitment. While that's always an issue that a coach has to address with every player, West Virginia's favored status will likely keep him in the Mountaineer fold throughout the recruiting battles to come.

WVU now appears to be set with guards in its next couple of recruiting classes, pairing point James "Beetle" Bolden in 2015 with Harler in the 2016 class. That's not to say there couldn't be another guard, especially a swingman, coming up in the future, but the committed duo gives West Virginia a solid succession plan for the next few seasons.

Class of 2016 WVU Basketball Verbal Commitments


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