Gary Harris scores 22 in regional victory

Gary Harris’ performance during Hamilton Southeastern’s 69-64 victory over Center Grove in Saturday’s Regional 3 semifinal at Hinkle Fieldhouse could serve as Exhibit A for why he’s perhaps the most coveted uncommitted player in the state of Indiana.

The Indiana target was brilliant across the board, scoring 22 points, grabbing four rebounds, dishing out three assists and recording two steals and a block.

He scored in every fashion possible, knocking down three 3-pointers against the 3-2 zone Center Grove employed in the first half, attack the rim off the dribble, ripping down two offensive rebounds and getting putbacks. and hitting big shots in the mid-range. He finished 8-for-15 from the field and also had a strong defensive performance against Andy Smeathers. Smeathers had a big second half to finish with 13 points, but Harris held him to 1-for-6 shooting in the first half.

“His ability is amazing,” Hamilton Southeastern coach Brian Satterfield said. “Whether it’s posting up, we didn’t have him post up today. but he can post up. He can drive it. He can shoot it. He can pass it. At the defensive end, he can guard, there was one possession where he was guarding (6-foot-7 Center Grove forward Joe) Reed, and Reed wasn’t able to get any position to try to get the ball. He can do whatever he asked him to do.”

And he was also clutch. Harris hit arguably the biggest shot of the game after Center Grove cut what had been a Hamilton Southeastern double-digit lead to two points. Harris attacked the paint and pulled up about 8-feet away and knocked down a cold-blooded jumper.

“i saw the lane open so I wanted to get there,” Harris said. “I didn’t want to get too deep. They’ve got a lot of size. I just wanted to hit a pull-up shot. I just wanted to find a spot.”

The mid-range game has always been a strong point for him, though, and he’s been very good at getting to the basket since he put on 25 pounds between his freshman and sophomore year.

He’s making improvement with his range, though, and that was crucial on Saturday.

“I’m just trying to take what the defense gives me,” Harris said. “If they back off me, I can hit the 3. if they’re playing close, I try to drive it at him.”

Harris said there’s nothing new with his recruiting status, contrary to rumors that a commitment to Indiana was imminent. He said he hasn’t trimmed his list yet. Rivals.com lists 14 scholarship offers for Harris, including IU, Purdue, Michigan State, Louisville and Notre Dame. The Spartans Tom Izzo was at Saturday’s game, but left early for his team’s Big Ten Tournament game tonight against Penn State.

Hamilton Southeastern gets North Central at 8 p.m. in the regional final. The Panthers beat Marquis Teague’s Pike squad despite not having D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who was suspended because of a fight in the sectionals against Lawrence North. Ronnie Johnson scored 25 points in the win over Pike and Smith-Rivera will be available tonight.

3 comments

  1. I wasn’t impressed w/ Harris, at all during Hinkle regional games. He’s better off pursuing football.

  2. Also, Bruce Weber was in attendance for morning game to watch Harris (I assume). IU doesn’t need more guys that can’t shoot.

  3. Curious, as the #1 player in his class Harris owns a “cold blooded jumper” but he can’t shoot?

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