The city of Chicago is known for producing high-quality basketball players. The recent success of Anthony Davis, Jabari Parker, and Jahlil Okafor has led to successful college coaches heavily recruiting from the Windy City. The only problem with this is, not every talented basketball player from chi-town will be scouted by these coaches.
However, guard Karl Harris was not recruited by the likes of Kentucky or Duke University, as his predecessors were. For most of his high school career at De La Salle Institute, which is located on the Southside of Chicago, he did not even know if he would play Division I college basketball. With the help and guidance of his high school and AAU coaches, Harris signed his letter of intent with an Atlantic-10 basketball team’s name on it, last fall. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard decided to accept a scholarship offer from La Salle University.
Chicago State, SIUE, St. Francis-PA and Toledo also offered Harris scholarships but he ultimately decided to become an Explorer. Throughout his high school career, he averaged 14 points per game during his junior year, won a Chicago Catholic League Championship, and led his basketball team to a 2014 IHSA (Illinois High School Association) Class 4A Regional appearance.
His greatest attribute may be his ability to drive to the basket but the athletic 175 pound guard can also defend the opposing team’s top guards and small forwards with his high motor. His wingspan allows him to block passing lanes, which in turn disrupts the rhythm of his opponent's offensive sets. He is often involved in fast-break opportunities, where he flourishes in transition, feeding teammates in the open court or finishing with his fashionable layups.
Harris’ ability to finish around the basket entices defenders to give extra space while defending him on the perimeter. As previously mentioned, he played in Chicago, against great competition and Harris should have no problem adapting to the Atlantic-10’s physical style of play. His experience playing against Chicago’s finest should definitely help him as he starts his college career.
Harris’ ability to drive to the basket may be his biggest pitfall. At times Harris has passed up jump shots, in favor of driving to the hoop. Although he has a lot of confidence scoring off the dribble, he must improve his perimeter shooting. As of now, he is a drive first, shoot second basketball player but that can change.
His ball handling is alright for a shooting guard but if he wants to compete for a spot as a point guard, he must continue to work on his dribbling. He will probably need to put on an extra five pounds over the summer, so that he can continue to defend guards and forwards.
Good Fit or Bad Fit?
All things considered, Harris will be a good fit for John Giannini and the Explorers. The Illinois native will most likely switch to the point guard position when he arrives in Philadelphia. Harris will see limited playing time early on in his college career because of La Salle’s loaded backcourt with standout redshirt-junior Jordan Price, who led the Explorers with 17.2 points and 2.3 assists last season, leading the way. Harris will have the opportunity to learn from Price and Coach Giannini. Harris’ defensive ability and energy may help him find valuable playing time this fall but if not, Harris will have to wait his turn.
Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune
-La Salle loses to UMass in the first round of the A-10 tournament