High-SchoolBoys-Basketball: Gary Harris

Who Else? Muhammad is McDonald's MVP

March, 29, 2012

CHICAGO -- With the approach he took to this game, did it really surprise anyone that Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) captured MVP honors at the 2012 McDonald's All-American Game?

Muhammad let it be known early he was in charge, scoring nine consecutive points for the West squad in the game's first three minutes. The 6-foot-6 forward set the tone and gave the West team a quick 11-2 lead en route to its 106-102 victory.

Shabazz Muhammad MVP McDonald's
Charles Rex Arbogast/APShabazz Muhammad scored a game-high 21 points to earn MVP honors at the McDonald's All-American Game.
"At the shootaround, I was thinking I wanted to come out and dominate," said Muhammad, who finished with a game-high 21 points on 10-of-18 shooting to go along with six rebounds. "At the beginning of the game, I was really getting up and down the court, and things were going good for me."

Rated the No. 2 recruit in the ESPNU 100, Muhammad's competitive fire is one of the attributes that separates him from the other players in the Class of 2012. Capturing MVP honors at Wednesday night's game was the culmination of that approach.

"No matter what event you go to, you want to be known as the best player in the event," Muhammad said. "When everything is cooking, it's a beautiful thing."

Muhammad said he's going to return to Las Vegas and relax for a few days before focusing on his next endeavors -- playing in the Jordan Brand Classic (ESPN, April 14, 7 p.m. ET) and making his much-anticipated college decision.

In a nationally televised pregame interview, Muhammad said three colleges are still in play for his services: UCLA, Kentucky and Duke, in no particular order. At the news conference following the game, Muhammad said it would be special to join Archie Goodwin of Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.) and Alex Poythress of Northeast (Clarksville, Tenn.) at Kentucky if he were to choose the Wildcats. Those were the two players seated next to him at the podium.

"If I went to Kentucky," Muhammad said, "that can be a really good class."

Same Town, Different Team

Despite growing up 15 minutes apart, Gary Harris of Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.) and Yogi Ferrell of Park Tudor (Indianapolis) ended up playing on opposite McDonald's All-American teams Wednesday night.

Ferrell was one of the standouts for the winning West squad, finishing with three points and a team-high eight assists. Harris suited up for the losing East squad, finishing with two points and five rebounds.

"It's kind of crazy ... we live in the same state and the same city," said Harris, a Michigan State pledge who is rated the No. 11 recruit in the ESPNU 100. "I think it's kind of funny how it all worked out."

"When it was announced on ESPN, a lot of people [in Indianapolis] were surprised by it," said Ferrell, an Indiana recruit who led Park Tudor to its second consecutive Indiana Class 2A state title this season.

They never attended school together but got to know each other quite well on the AAU circuit over the years. They first met in fourth grade, and to say Harris was impressed with Ferrell's game would be an understatement.

"The first time I saw him, he was the quickest player I've ever seen," Harris said. "Things haven't changed much since then."

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

Mr. Basketball USA Tracker week 8

March, 2, 2012
As the playoffs heat up in many states, this week is a perfect opportunity to explain the criteria that goes into selecting the ESPNHS Mr. Basketball USA winner and give some insight on what it takes to earn national player of the year honors.

The talent of previous winners is clearly evident to those lucky enough to witness them in high school, but what separates the winner from other strong candidates?

Talent level

This is the most important factor. The winner must possess the skills to make an immediate impact on the college level. Nearly all past winners projected as NBA players, but not all of them start the ascension to player of the year candidate from the same point.

Just look at where 1997 winner Tracy McGrady was as an underclassman compared to runner-up Lamar Odom. McGrady was a non-descript forward at Auburndale (Fla.) as a junior. He wasn't on anyone's radar the summer before transferring to Mount Zion (Durham, N.C.), whereas Odom was one of the nation's best players since his sophomore year at Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.).

Of the 57 eventual Mr. Basketball USA choices, only two did not go on to play in the NBA: forward Bill Raftery of St. Cecelia's (Kearney, N.J.) in 1959 and Damon Bailey of North Lawrence (Bedford, Ind.) in 1990.

Team success

Leading a POWERADE FAB 50-ranked team and helping it win a state title is a significant factor. Those teams generally play tough competition, which nowadays means the candidate's team challenged itself against competition from outside its region.

Two years ago, Jared Sullinger of Northland (Columbus, Ohio) led the nation's No. 1 ranked team before the Vikings were stunned 71-45 in the Ohio regional playoffs by an unranked team. The other top candidate that season, Harrison Barnes of Ames (Iowa), led his team to a 27-0 record and No. 10 final FAB 50 rating. If Barnes' team would have lost even one game, or if Sullinger's team would have won the state title, Sullinger might have been the winner instead of Barnes.

To read the rest of this story and see the Mr. Basketball USA voting results, CLICK HERE.

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

Mr. Basketball USA Tracker week 7

February, 24, 2012
Candidacy of Michigan State recruit Gary Harris sparked by long-term production

The Mr. Basketball USA Tracker updates the progress of the nation's top national player of the year candidates on a weekly basis, but this is the time of year when the panel has a tendency to step back and look at the overall picture.

While the tracker rewards stellar game performances or recent hot streaks, the actual honor is awarded to the player with the strongest overall resume as it relates to team success. It's the reason Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who led St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) to a 105-12 career record in his four varsity seasons while never allowing the Celtics to fall lower than No. 17 in the POWERADE FAB 50, won the award last year over players such as current Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis and Duke star Austin Rivers.

Overall resume is the reason Gary Harris of Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.) has emerged as a legitimate candidate. He appeared on four ballots, including a third-place vote, to garner 22 points. That tied him for seventh place this week with Marcus Smart of Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas), who has been garnering votes all season long.

To read the rest of this story and see the Mr. Basketball USA voting results, CLICK HERE.

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

Inside the FAB 50: Hoophall Preview

January, 11, 2012
The No. 1-ranked team in this week’s POWERADE FAB 50 and 10 other nationally rated squads might learn from history in the upcoming Spalding Hoophall Classic.

Last season, top-ranked Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) took a 16-0 record into the Spalding Hoophall Classic at Blake Arena in Springfield, Mass., but was knocked off by Milton (Ga.) 75-69.

At the same event, FAB 50 No. 2 St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) dominated DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), another ranked team, 75-25, and took over the No. 1 ranking for the rest of the season. The FAB 50 champion Friars ended with a 33-0 record.

This weekend, FAB 50 No. 1 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) could face its stiffest challenge of the season against No. 6 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), while No. 2 Oak Hill Academy takes on No. 19 Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas).

If Simeon loses to Findlay and Oak Hill beats Prestonwood, history could repeat with Oak Hill on the other side of the rankings move.

Oak Hill plays on Saturday, while the Simeon-Findlay matchup headlines a five-game slate on Martin Luther King Day.

Findlay may be without 6-foot-8, 230-pound senior forward Anthony Bennett, who has been nursing an injury and has seen limited game action the past couple of weeks.

Three games Saturday feature FAB 50-ranked teams: No. 2 Oak Hill Academy vs. No. 19 Prestonwood Christian; No. 5 DeMatha vs. Northwest Catholic (West Hartford, Conn.); and No. 9 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) vs. No. 50 Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.).

The first four games on Monday also will feature FAB 50 teams: No. 1 Simeon vs. No. 6 Findlay Prep; No. 4 St. Anthony vs. No. 34 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.); No. 5 DeMatha vs. No. 24 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas); and No. 22 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) vs. Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.).

FAB 50 Spotlight Player of the Week:

Gary Harris, Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.)

The 6-foot-4 senior shooting guard has helped the Royals return to the FAB 50 at No. 42 after they were No. 44 in the preseason.

One of the nation’s top two-sport athletes (football and basketball), the Michigan State-bound Harris scored 30 points as the Royals handed previous No. 46 Muncie Central (Muncie, Ind.) its first loss, 60-51.

A Mr. Basketball candidate regarded as Indiana's top senior prospect, Harris will lead the Royals in a pair of road games this weekend -- at Brownsburg (Ind.) on Friday and against Troy (Ohio) at the Flyin' to the Hoop event Saturday in Dayton, Ohio.

FAB 50’s best two-sport schools

This week’s basketball rankings include two schools that also were among the nation’s best in the final football FAB 50.

Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), which is No. 24 this week in basketball and is playing at the Spalding Hoophall Classic also was No. 8 in the final FAB 50 in football. The Gaels went 15-1 on the gridiron and won their third straight Class 4A state title.

One athlete at Bishop Gorman that plays both sports is 6-foot-6, 280-pound Ronnie Stanley, an offensive tackle and power forward.

The other school is Union (Tulsa, Okla.). The Redskins entered this week at No. 48 in the FAB 50 at 9-0 on the season. They recently won their fourth straight Class 6A state football title and were No. 24 in the final FAB 50.

Here are a few other schools that have been FAB-ulous in both sports so far this year:

Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.) – No. 44 this week in basketball; went 10-2 in football with both losses to national powerhouse Hoover (Hoover, Ala.).

De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) – Just dropped out of the FAB 50 in basketball but could go back in later this season as one of the top teams in Northern California; went 13-1 in football and were No. 10 in the final FAB 50 after winning third straight CIF state open division bowl game.

Heights (Wichita, Kan.) – No. 11 this week in basketball; went 12-1 in football and was going for third straight state title before loss to Olathe South (Olathe, Kan.).

Jesuit (Portland, Ore.) – No. 40 this week in basketball; made it to the Class 6A state semifinals in football before loss to eventual champion Lake Oswego (Lake Oswego, Ore.).

Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) – No. 38 this week in basketball; won CIF North Coast Section Division IV title in football and went 14-0. Freddy Tagaloa (6-8, 320) is committed to Cal for football and starts at center in basketball.

Goodwin makes Cats even more attractive

September, 21, 2011
Goodwin Picks Kentucky

When Archie Goodwin took to Twitter Tuesday night to announce what he’d known ever since Kentucky coach John Calipari left his house less than a week ago, he expected that the response would be overwhelming.

“Any time someone commits it’s big news,” said Goodwin, a senior shooting guard at Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.). “But when you commit to a place like Kentucky, it can be a little crazy. There’s so much tradition there.”

Archie Goodwin
Steven Johnson/ESPNHSArchie Goodwin said he wants to play with other top players.

Goodwin, who is ranked No. 13 in the ESPNU 100, picked the Wildcats over Memphis and Arkansas, and estimates that he’s fielded “more than 100 calls” since 11 p.m. last night from reporters, friends, family and fans.

“When I woke up this morning I had 160 text messages, 40 voicemails and I had over 200 emails,” Goodwin said. “It’s crazy. I’ve got about 2,000 more followers on Twitter since Tuesday night at 11 p.m. I couldn’t get to a lot of the calls, there were just so many.”

Goodwin did, however, find time to answer a few; specifically the ones he got from recruits expressing their interest in joining him in Lexington.

Hamilton Southeastern’s (Fishers, Ind.) Gary Harris, a senior shooting guard who is ranked No. 10 in the ESPNU 100, and Arlington Country Day’s (Jacksonville, Fla.) Torian Graham, a senior shooting guard who is ranked No. 38, both contacted Goodwin congratulating him and inquiring about the possibility of playing together in college.

And though Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) swingman Shabazz Muhammad, the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100, didn’t say so last night, Goodwin said the two have spoken about the possibility of teaming up as well.

“I told them let’s do it,” Goodwin said. “I’m not that guy who’s gonna pressure anyone so I let them reach out to me first, but when they do I definitely try and get them to join me. I want to play with the best because I think it’s the best way to win. And I definitely plan to win.”

Don't forget to follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayESPN