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The Skinny: How Chris Harris Affects OSU’s Basketball Future

What does the Chris Harris commitment mean for Cowboy basketball?

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Last Thursday, Oklahoma State landed its fifth commitment of the 2019 recruiting cycle in South Garland High School guard Chris Harris Jr. According to 247Sports, Mike Boynton’s class is now ranked 19th in the nation and fourth in the Big 12.

Recruiting rankings aside, I wanted to take a look at what exactly the Harris commitment means for the Cowboys moving forward into next season.

The Data

Who Is He?

Harris committed to play for Billy Kennedy and Texas A&M in March of last year. He was recruited by the Pokes and took an unofficial visit to Stillwater in September 2017, but originally decided to continue his playing career in College Station. However, Harris decommitted shortly after the Aggies and Kennedy parted ways and reopened his recruitment. After about a month of deliberation, he announced his decision last week that he would be playing college ball at OSU.

According to Max Preps, the talented combo guard averaged 18.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals last season over a stretch of 37 games. In addition, he helped lead his team to the Regional Finals of the Texas 6A Regions 2 and 4 State Playoffs.

Harris has a connection to this current OSU team as he and Isaac Likekele have been friends since they were kids.

Recruiting Profile (247)

National: No. 129
Shooting Guard: No. 21
Texas: No. 13

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Note: ESPN and Rivals.com both have Harris rated as a four-star prospect, while 247Sports Composite ranking has Harris listed as a three-star recruit.

Top Offers: Harris had multiple big time offers over the course of his recruitment, however his final list of top three schools was made up of Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

How He’d Fit in Stillwater

I was able to watch two South Garland games from this past season. Their 58-49 victory over DME Sports Academy (FL) in late December, and their 60-53 second round playoff win over Midway in February. Harris recorded 18 points, on 5 of 17 shooting from the field (2 of 6 from three-point range), 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal against DME. Against Midway, he put up another 18 points, shooting 7 of 15 from the field (2 of 5 from distance), 4 steals, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.

On offense, the Garland product shoots it well from beyond the arc. He knocked down 37 percent of his three-pointers, on nearly six attempts per game, and his form is smooth and consistent. I think he has what it takes to be an elite shooter at the college level, as you see him knock down the long-range shot below.

His free throw percentage also gives me confidence that he has the skills to be a great shooter. Free throws and three-point shooting don’t always directly correlate, but it’s nice to know he’s knocking shots down at a 77 percent clip from the charity stripe. Harris also pulls a Dame Lillard from the line, and chooses to not dribble the ball before his free throw attempt. It’s always so weird to me when players do that, but as long as he’s hitting the shot, who cares, right?

Harris does a good job of creating his own shot off the bounce. He isn’t a super explosive, above-the-rim type player on offense (although he is very athletic), but he’s able to get to the basket with ease and has great balance and body control to finish inside.

Don’t let the 2.3 assists per game fool you, Harris is a very skilled facilitator. He has great court vision and made some really nice passes, like the one shown in the clip below.

In watching both the DME and Midway games, I got to see Harris face two different styles of defense. Midway primarily played zone, and DME primarily played man, while also adding in some full court pressure. Harris excelled against both, and looked really comfortable on and off on the ball. Additionally, he made some plays as the ball handler in the pick and roll, which bodes well for next season playing with guys like Cam McGriff and Yor Anei.

On defense, Harris uses his length and quickness to rack up steals. I also found it interesting that he was often times guarding taller players in the post, and uses his nearly 200-pound frame and long arms to his advantage in these situations. Harris also does well guarding on the perimeter and is a solid rebounder for a guard.

I would’ve liked to see Harris use his size and strength to post up smaller guards on offense, similar to what we saw from Likekele this past season, however I think he possesses the skills to add this to his game. For a pro comp, Harris gives me Ben Gordon-vibes, as an undersized two guard, with elite shooting skills and the capability to create his own shot off the dribble.

With an already solid frame, and a summer to work in the weight room, I think Harris could make an impact as early as next season. I know Boynton already has a high ceiling guard like Avery Anderson coming in next year, but I think Harris may have a more college ready body and the skills on both ends to contribute right away.

 

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