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March 11, 2013

UCF among schools eyeing Tampa PG

Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit point guard Devin Harris has seen a big wave of recruiting interest in the week since leading his team to the Class 5A State Championship.

The member of the Class of 2013 already had pulled in a pair of offers from East Tennessee State and University of Tampa, but may be on the verge of several more.

"This was probably one of my best years of anything I've done, AAU or just basketball period," Harris said. "It was definitely great being able to top off my senior year the best way possible."

Harris averaged 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists as a senior. The state tournament in Lakeland appears to have provided the needed stage to gain exposure with college coaches.

"The (championship) game was Saturday and I started getting calls on Sunday night," Harris said. "I played my normal game. I guess the coaches hadn't seen me all season so maybe it was surprising to them. I played like I normally do, aggressive, attacking and had my normal average. I had a nice dunk and a behind-the-back spin move. Maybe that put it over the top."

He's now on the radar of schools from the Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA and SEC.

"East Tennessee State has my loyalty right now," he said. "They're definitely in there and have been. Of course there's UCF. They're looking like they're very interested. I'm supposed to go over there soon. Wyoming is extremely interested as well. They want me to come for a visit. Tulane is very interested. So is Tulsa. South Carolina said they're highly interested. Georgetown is doing all of their checking and I'm waiting to hear back from them."

He's slated to take an official visit to ETSU the weekend of March 22.

"I have a really good relationship with the staff," Harris said. "I had an in-home visit with Coach (Murry) Bartow on Saturday. I have a great relationship with Coach (Scott) Wagers who is my head recruiter. They've been there from the start."

UCF associate head coach Shawn Finney got in touch last week.

"UCF said they like the way I play and my basketball IQ," Harris said. "I don't know what position they like me for. It might be point guard or shooting guard. They said they need a scorer as well because they know I can score."

Harris already knows a little about UCF, which just wrapped up its third 20-win season under head coach Donnie Jones.

"I've been there a couple times for AAU tournaments," Harris said. "So I've seen the campus here and there. I've watched them on TV too."

Being such a short drive from Tampa, UCF would like him to visit soon so he can practice with the current players. That could coincide with an official visit.

"They said they want me to come visit and work out with the guys," Harris said. "I guess there's a NCAA rule change where you can work out with the guys for like two hours. That might be during my spring break. It depends on their schedule. My spring break is the last week of March."

Harris said coaches have told him they like his size at point guard. People around Tampa have compared him to perhaps the most famous big point guard of all, Magic Johnson.

"The main thing coaches say is they like that I'm a big guard at 6-4," Harris said. "Not only that, but the way I move with the ball and the way I attack. I've been told I have a high IQ and know the game well."

Harris was born in Tampa and spent his early years in Germany and Colorado. He moved back to Florida when he was in the seventh grade.

"The most important thing to me is the coaching staff," Harris said. "Not so much where I'm living because I can adapt very well. I've moved all over with my dad in the Air Force. I just want to see what the team is like. I'll be there for the next four years. I want to get along well with the other guys. What's the point guard situation? Do they have a junior or senior at that position? Who's in front of me, stuff like that."

Harris is also a slam dunk contest champion after winning that title at the Tampa Bay Basketball Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game this past Saturday. He bounced the ball off the wall behind the backboard and caught it off the bounce as he was elevating before slamming it down.

"At first I didn't want to do the dunk contest because I didn't think I was creative enough," Harris said. "In warmups, I threw it off the wall and kind of dunked it with ease, so my parents wanted me to do it. I started off on the left wing, the three-point line, and threw it behind the backboard off the wall a little bit to the right. I didn't think I was going to be able to do it, so I sped up, cocked it to the side of my head with two hands and dunked it. The crowd went crazy."



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