Q & A: Harris reflects on AAU season, looks ahead
With his final AAU season coming to a close and his senior year at Hamilton Southeastern set to begin in a couple of weeks, five-star guard Gary Harris sat down with reporters to discuss a variety of topics at the Spiece Fieldhouse on Saturday in Ft. Wayne. Harris is playing in his final AAU event this weekend with D3 Pride in the GRBA National Championships.
Here’s a full transcript of the lengthy question and answer session with Indiana’s top remaining recruiting target in the class of 2012:
Is this just one big test after another as you finish out July?
“Yeah, I mean I just want to play against the best competition I can and just go out here and win as many games as possible, so each time we get a win, I’m happy.”
When you kind of look at your July, what do you think you did really well and what do you think you showed people this July?
“I think my versatility, different ways I can score, different ways I can get my teammates involved, defense, just my overall game.”
How do you sort of keep some of that going during football season? Are you going to work out basketball at all during football?
“Yeah, I’m just going to get shots up after practice sometimes when I can. But nothing like full out, but just so I can just keep a touch and feel for the ball so when basketball season comes around, I’m not starting from scratch.”
Are you kind of looking forward to switching your focus to football for a while and kind of get a little break?
“Yeah it’s always good to switch it up. We should have a pretty good team this year, so it should be fun.”
When do you start football stuff?
“Monday. Two-a-days start on Monday.”
You’re going to be fully involved in two-a-days come Monday?
“Yeah, I’m going to miss Friday though because I’m going out to Oregon, but other than that, we’ve got two full weeks of two-a-days.”
What do you have going on in Oregon?
“The Nike Global Challenge.”
Big time competition out there?
“Yeah, it should be.”
Is that like an all-star game?
“It’s like, it’s hard to explain, but it’s three USA teams like an east, west and midwest and we just play against different countries to see who can win it all. Just whoever wins the most games.”
Do you know some of the guys that will be playing with you?
“I’m not quite sure who’s going to playing. I know the rosters are out, but I haven’t seen them yet.”
When football starts, are you going to have your legs right away or is it going to take some time?
“I mean I’ll be in better shape because of basketball. When I play football, we run four seconds, stop, get a 30-second break. We have a lot of breaks in football. I mean I think this just helps my conditioning when it comes to football season, but when I come back into basketball season, I’m going to have to get back into shape again.”
Are you guys going to have a pretty good team this year (in football at Hamilton Southeastern)?
“Yeah, we should. A lot of core guys back on offense. We’ve got some slots to fill defensively, but we should have a pretty solid team.”
You took a little visit to Purdue (at the end of June), how did that go?
“It was good. It wasn’t a full visit. I stopped by and talked to the coaches after our team camp up there. Just walked around, looked at the facilities some more, talked with the new strength and conditioning coach. Kind of just revisited and talked to all of the coaches again.”
Did your parents come down to that?
“Yeah, my family was down there.”
What kind of stuff did they talk to you about? What was their message to you or sales pitch?
“Just that I can come there and play. Just play on offense, run up and down. They’re saying how they think they’ll fit my style of play.”
Kentucky, haven’t asked you about them lately, are they still showing interest in you?
“I mean they came to some of my games in Orlando, but that’s pretty much it.”
You said at IndyBall (in April), that they potentially wanted you to come for a visit. They e-mailed you and wanted you to come for a visit at the end of the summer. Has anything materialized from that?
“No, nothing’s materialized from that. It’s pretty much the same status right now.”
Are you looking forward to this whole process being over with?
“I’m only going through it once. Might as well enjoy it while it lasts. When it’s over, it’s over. I don’t let it get to me. It’s fine. I’m just trying to make sure I make the right decision.”
How many times a day do you get asked about it? I’m not talking about us (the media), but your classmates and stuff?
“Almost every day by somebody. It’s crazy.”
Do your friends ask you about it, kids at school, things like that?
“My main group of friends, they really don’t ask me about it. They just chill, they just like they really don’t care where I go. Like kids at school, other kids that do go to my high school, they do ask me a lot and just other people.”
Have you ever had anybody on an opposing team ask you anything about recruiting during a game?
“Yeah, I think in Orlando somebody was just asking like where do I think I’m gonna go and I just tell them I’m not sure yet.”
Can you believe it’s almost over now? Your last couple days of AAU now.
“It’s crazy. It’s all starting to hit me. It’s my last time playing with these guys and I might as well make it last, go out with a bang.”
Might sound sort of random, but is there anything you like talking about that you don’t feel you get asked enough?
“No, there’s nothing in particular that I want to talk about. It’s fine how it is now. I don’t have any things that I want to be asked, so it’s fine.”
Have you thought about at all what you’re going to study when you get to college as far as like a major or what you’re interested in?
“Like sports management or something like that. Something in that field.”
Have you started looking at the rosters of the teams you’re looking at just to see what they’ve got coming in?
“Yeah. That’s a little bit of what’s going into my decision. Looking to see who they have when I get there. Just to see what I’m working with if I go to a certain school.”
I know some of the Indiana guys have tried to recruit you to come with them, with any of the other schools that are recruiting you, have you heard from their recruits as far as trying to get you to come?
“Yeah, Purdue, Ronnie (Johnson), Raphael (Davis), Jay (Simpson). They’re always messing with me about coming to Purdue. Then the Michigan State recruits whenever I see them they talk about me trying to come to Michigan State, too. So I hear from not just IU.”
You’re pretty familiar with a lot of the guys going to Purdue and Indiana. With the talent going to those schools, do you see that being a pretty good rivalry moving forward?
“Oh yeah, of course. Especially since we all know each other. All of the commits that are going to IU know the commits from Purdue. It’s just going to be a heated rivalry because I know they’re not going to want to lose to each other. It could get pretty heated.”
You’re planning to take some visits in the fall? Do you have any scheduled yet?
“Yes. No I don’t have any scheduled yet though.”
Do you have a general idea of who you might visit?
“Pretty much the same schools who have been on my list that I mentioned recently, we’ll go to visit those schools.”
Is it fair to say Purdue, Michigan State, Indiana will get visits?
“Yes, they’ll get visits.”
Do you think you’ll take all five visits?
“I’m not sure, it just depends. If I feel like I need to take five official visits, then I’ll take them. We’ll see when that time comes.”
Are you looking forward to football? I know you always have liked playing that since you were growing up just to get playing a different season, a different sport.
“Yeah I’m looking forward, it’s my last year playing football. And I’m going play basketball in college so I’m going to go out and try to enjoy it as much as possible because it’s my last time going through it.”
Do any of the college coaches say anything about they would rather not have you play football?
“All of the schools who are recruiting me, they want me to play football. They think it’s good for me and I think it helps with my toughness as well and my physicality on the court. Nobody has a problem with me playing football.”
Do you feel like it’s something that can be done, doing both?
“In college? It can be done. People have done it before but it would be real hard to do it, just to balance both. The seasons overlap each other, so it would be real tough.”
Is that something you’ve pretty much completely ruled out or is there still a possibility you’d think about that?
“Slight possibility, but I’m definitely leaning a lot more to basketball than football because of what I’ve been doing recently. But you never know, I’m not going to cancel that option out because you never know what’s going to happen down the road.”
Are schools still trying to recruit you for football at all?
“I still get stuff in the mail, yeah.”
Any new football offers?
“No new football offers.”
(Photo credit: Jamie Owens of J. Scott Sports)
Filed to: Gary Harris