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Southern grad Bryan Harris finds new home in Wofford

College SportsCollege BasketballDuquesne DukesBasketballNCAALong Island University

For five days last month, Bryan Harrishad found everything he wanted in a college basketball program.

Harris, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound combo guard, graduated from Southern in 2011 with no Division I scholarship offers. But a standout post-grad season with Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia earned him several DI offers, including one from Duquesne, which he accepted May 18.

Harris’ happiness, however, proved to be fleeting. On May 23, Duquesne fired coach Ron Everhart, leaving Harris’ status as a Dukes commitment utterly uncertain.

“I was devastated,” Harris said Sunday. “He was at my house two days before. I had no idea that could happen.”

If there was a silver lining to Harris’ suddenly muddied recruiting picture, it was that it forced him to revisit a few college programs he had previously dismissed in favor of the Dukes. Florida International, Hofstra, Robert Morris and Wofford were considered, and on Sunday, Harris decided on the Terriers.

“It feels good,” said Harris, who took an official visit to Wofford last week. “I can get ready for next year, and now I don’t have to try to figure out where I’m going to be. I’m relieved.”

Before Harris could envision himself at Wofford, he needed to officially part ways with Duquesne. The new Dukes coaching staff contacted him shortly after their hiring, but it soon became clear to Harris that he would need to explore other options.

“I think he wanted to see me play,” Harris said of new Dukes coach Jim Ferry, formerly the head coach at LIU Brooklyn. “He wanted me to go back to Massanutten to work out. I’m in Maryland. … I haven’t talked to him in like three weeks. I really thought they were interested, [but] early last week, I narrowed down my list.”

Harris, who took an official to FIU this weekend, had made an unofficial visit to Wofford earlier in the recruiting process and liked what he saw. He reached out to the Terriers coaches and began to rebuild their relationship.

“They seemed a little surprised [I was interested again], but they were happy,” Harris said. “They were excited. I’m really excited for next year.”

At Wofford, Harris expects to compete for the starting point guard job as a freshman. The Terriers, back-to-back Southern Conference champions in 2010 and 2011, graduated point guard Brad Loesing, who averaged more than 38 minutes as a senior.

“There are a lot of minutes out there,” Harris said. “[The coaches] just [want me to] come in and compete. … In three years, they’ve been to the NCAA tournament two times. This year, they finished second in the conference. They got a good recruiting class coming in, too.”

Harris said he has completely “moved on” from the situation at Duquesne, and is now entirely focused on helping Wofford make its third NCAA tournament appearance in four years.

“It’s nice,” Harris said. “I’m really excited about stepping in and winning immediately and having a chance to compete for the conference championship and go to the NCAA tournament."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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College SportsCollege BasketballDuquesne DukesBasketballNCAALong Island University
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