Meet 2010 Basketball Recruit Joe Harris
Note: Throughout the week, you will find a mini-feature on Virginia’s four men’s basketball commitments.
Tuesday: Will Regan
Today: Joe Harris
Thursday: K.T. Harrell
Friday: James Johnson
Just like Virginia Coach Tony Bennett, Harris grew up around basketball. His father, also named Joe Harris, is entering his 18th season as basketball coach at Chelan High in Chelan, Wash. The younger Joe was a manager for the team from age 4, growing into a 6-foot-6 prospect.
Harris had developed a relationship with Bennett while Bennett coached at Washington State. Bennett even attended an open gym with Harris a week before accepting the Virginia job. When Bennett left for the Cavaliers and invited Harris to the program's camp, Harris started considering traveling far from his small home town in central Washington and bypassing in-state schools Washington State, Washington and Gonzaga.
"Right when I got the offer, Virginia was definitely my top choice," said Harris, who received the scholarship offer one week after the camp in June.
The camp opened his eyes to Bennett's staff and Virginia's facilities. It was also an opportunity to play against players from "all over the East Coast" -- competition Harris seldom receives in a county of 70,029 residents and at a school of about 300 students.
"One of the things through Joe's whole recruiting process was whether it's 100 miles from home or 1,000 miles from home, you have to know where he'll fit in," the elder Harris said.
Harris did not commit until the beginning of August because he promised his Seattle-based AAU coach he would wait until after the summer season. Harris said Bennett never put a timetable on the decision, although he leaned toward Virginia all along.
He took his official visit during the weekend of the Sept. 12 football game against Texas Christian -- the same weekend as Virginia recruit James Johnson. Harris witnessed Charlottesville while school was in session, stayed in a downtown hotel, and was able to play and interact with his future teammates.
Harris said Bennett plans to use him as a combo guard, as he's able to play point guard and swingman. Bennett likes tall guards who can rebound and bring the ball up the court in transition. And like many coaches' sons -- Bennett included -- Harris is a skilled long-range shooter who knows what his coach expects.
"We had a great feel for coach Bennett when he was at Washington State," Joe Harris Sr. said. "We watched the progression of his program. He was very well thought of in the state of Washington."
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