Harris epitomizes never-quit spirit of NBA D-League
The 26-year-old has found his niche in the NBA D-League with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, steadily improving in each of his four years as a professional to the point where he’s now a legitimate 3-point threat.
Harris, of West High fame, deserves a lot of credit for sticking with a sport many abandon at his age after realizing that playing in the NBA won’t happen. But if anything, the journey has only strengthened his resolve.
“There was and still am working on patience and letting God handle everything,” Harris told me. “I stuck with the D-League because I believe that I can play in the NBA and it helps when the GM and head coach are telling you that they want you back.”
The 6-foot-7 forward has started all 24 games this season for the defending league champion Mad Ants and is averaging a career-best 10.1 points and .429 shooting percentage.
He’s already made as many 3-pointers and scored as many points as he did all of last season, in nearly half as many games.
“I feel that I have come a long way in developing my game as a whole,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work to get to this point; countless hours in the gym and also studying the game of basketball.
“So all the work I put in gives me confidence at the end of games. It also helps that my coaches and teammates believe in me too.”
They believe in Harris enough to make him the go-to option when the Mad Ants need a 3. He won a game with a buzzer-beater last season. Just three nights ago he made 6-of-8 3s en route to scoring 20 points.
“I have spent years working on my 3-point shot,” he said. “I’m glad to see that it’s working for me.”
His jump shot is why he’s managed to make a living in basketball for the last four years. He’s also played professionally in China in Germany.
He prefers playing in the D-League, and living in Fort Wayne, Ind., where he can be close to his family.
“Life off the court isn’t like the NBA, but it could be a lot worse,” Harris said. “There are a lot of flights, bus rides and going from hotel to hotel and from state to state. I’m thankful, though, that I have an opportunity to play the game I love and also represent Anchorage as a positive influence for people who want to play ball from Alaska.”