2012 Indiana Mr. Basketball Gary Harris is traveling the country for job interviews. Harris expects to be hired by an NBA team on June 26. That’s draft night, and Harris is among the top prospects in this year’s talent pool.
The former Hamilton Southeastern High School star has already worked out for the Nuggets, Suns and Lakers – all teams with selections in the NBA lottery (top 14 picks for non-playoff teams). Next week he has workouts scheduled with the Hawks, 76ers, and Celtics.
“Those workouts are extremely tough, physically demanding, and definitely challenge you mentally,” said Harris, a day after returning from his latest workout in Denver. “But you’ve got to go out there and give it your all and showcase your abilities and leave them with the best impression.”
The mock drafts agree that Harris is an NBA lottery pick and line up well with the teams he is visiting for workouts. Here is a sampling of mock draft positions for Harris:
Harris admits to some anxiety about working out for so many teams, knowing only one can select him.
“I’m just trying to show them the type of player I am,” said Harris. “I’m not trying to go out there and be somebody I’m not. I’m going to go out there and shoot the ball very well, play the best defense I can play, and just go out there and compete.”
Harris won Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors a year ago, but decided to return to Michigan State for his sophomore season. He improved nearly all his statistics, averaging 16.7 points and 4 rebounds this past season. Harris is one of only three players in Spartans history to score 1,000 career points in just two seasons. After winning team MVP and All-Big Ten Honors his sophomore season, he decided to turn pro.
“I feel like I matured as a player, definitely on the court and off the court,” said Harris. “I feel like I definitely improved in a lot of areas. I feel like my game is ready for the next level.”
Harris is 19 years old, listed at 6-4, 210 pounds. After finishing his final exams last month, he joined the St. Vincent Sports Performance NBA Pre-Draft Training Program to prepare for team evaluations and scouting. Harris is a shooting guard considered to be a lockdown defender. He believes he could develop into a point guard as well.
“I feel like I’ll be able to play both positions eventually,” said Harris, “but going in starting off as a shooting guard and being able to improve my game and be able to be that combo guard.”
Harris is hoping for an invitation to attend the NBA draft in New York June 26.