Harris Begins New Chapter in Family Tradition
"I've been playing since I've been able to walk. I always had a basketball in my crib," said Harris with a smile. "I've just been around it my whole life."
Coming from a talented basketball lineage, both of Harris' parents, Robert, Jr. and LeAnn Harris, know a thing or two about the game.
His dad is an assistant coach at Lewis and Clark Community College in Edwardsville, Illinois, while his mom was an All-American player at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville from 1991-94. In 2013, LeAnn was inducted into the SIUE Athletics Hall of Fame for her stellar collegiate career, where she led the Cougars in scoring three consecutive seasons and led the team to its first-ever NCAA Division II Tournament.
"My dad and mom really became my coaches, but that's good. They're always trying to help," explained Harris. "I really think being around it so much, getting tips from all these different points of views has helped me grow as a player. I think I've really benefitted from it."
And the basketball tradition doesn't just stop with his parents. His uncle, Jon Harris, played 113 games at Marquette from 1998-2002 and now is an assistant coach at California while his cousin, former Notre Dame Star LaPhonso Ellis, is an ESPN basketball broadcaster.
"Whether it was my uncle, dad, mom, brother, sister, relatives; we're a really athletic family," continued Harris. "So with basketball, I've just always been around it."
Prior to coming to K-State, Harris played one season (2013-14) at Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Virginia. Helping the school to a 25-7 record and a No. 4 ranking in the NextUpRecruits.com Top 10 poll, Harris played a key impact on the court averaging a team-best 19 points per game.
Now at K-State, the Edwardsville, Illinois, native said he hopes to bring the same intensity and passion to the court that he played with at Fishburne.
"One of my strengths is that I really think I shoot the ball very well from deep, from the three, but I can do a lot of other things too," responded Harris when asked about his playing style. "I like to score - who doesn't - but I like to get my teammates involved, play defense, and help in any way I can. I think I have a really nice all-around game, but I'm still trying to improve."
Working hard to improve should be no problem though, Harris explained with a laugh, as K-State has provided him plenty of hours in the gym to polish his skills since he arrived in Manhattan earlier this summer.
"I knew I was going to be busy, but I really didn't know exactly how many hours I'd be putting into it," he said. "Waking up early, going to lift, then going straight to study hall and class. If you work camp you work it and then go straight to a workout. It's been busy, but it's what I came here for. I really am enjoying it. I'm excited for next year, that's when all the work is worth it."
Harris is now ready to begin a new chapter in his family's basketball tradition story. It will be a chapter like no other, painted in purple and written on the court of Bramlage Coliseum, but he's ready to make it his own as he is right where he wants to be.
"The K-State coaches and staff as a whole, they're a bunch of great guys who love what they're doing. They know what they're doing and they love to win - they have been winning - that's something I want to come in and contribute to. It's a great conference and the school; it's beautiful.
"Everywhere you go someone has a K-State shirt or a K-State hat on or something is purple within five feet of you. Everybody is just really nice, they show a lot of love. If they recognize you from the basketball team they ask for your signature. I love this atmosphere."
On Aug. 11, Harris traveled to Europe with the Global Sports Academy. During his seven-day trip, he will compete in five games against various club teams in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. For more information on his trip and upcoming games, click here.