Focus 2011: Darnell Harris

Badger Nation looks at the high school sophomores that Wisconsin basketball has focused on to fill the void. With plenty of raw talent within the state borders for the Class of 2011, will Wisconsin pursue Darnell Harris?

MILWAUKEE - Glancing through the archives, it becomes noticeable that since 2002, the Badgers have recruited only three forwards from the Badger State that play the number three and four position (Tim Jarmusz, Marcus Landry and Ray Nixon).

Milwaukee Hamilton forward Darnell Harris may become the fourth.

The 6-foot-8, 180-pound forward doesn't score a lot (averaging 9.7 points in 17 games) but has impressed scouts at the Hensley Memorial Tournament in Fort Wayne, Ind., and the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp in Chicago.

More importantly, Harris is one of the key ingredients that have led Hamilton to a 17-3 overall record and an 11-1 record in the ultra-competitive Milwaukee City conference, earning a share of the conference title with top-ranked Milwaukee Washington (19-1).

What makes Hamilton's record all that more impressive is that the most wins the Wildcats had since 2002 have been five.

Watching Harris Friday night, you could see why Hamilton is better. Although Harris finished with only seven points, it was the attention he attracted from Milwaukee Bay View in all four quarters and overtime that allowed his teammates room to work. Harris took advantage of the extra attention, playing within the offense and delivering the extra pass to the open player.

Although his talents are still raw, Harris has enough talent to make an impact, as he can use either hand to score when driving the lane, has solid form on his mid-to-long range jumper and plays solid defensively, an impressive set of skills for a lanky sophomore.

Harris, who plays for the AAU Milwaukee Rebels, doesn't boast any scholarship offers yet, but has been scouted by DePaul, Iowa State, Kentucky, Marquette and Wisconsin, with the Cyclones showing the most interest at this point.

Harris told Scout that he would like to commit early so he can focus on his academics and his development. Combine Harris growing into his long, lean frame and being coached by Tom Diener, winning of five WIAA Division 1 state championships at Milwaukee Vincent, Harris' stock is only going to continue to rise.

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