07/16/2009 2:25 PM ET
Harris impresses with summer play
Long Island product drawing consideration from Big East
By Adam Zagoria / SNY.tv
Half Hollow Hills' Tobias Harris has transformed his body with a new workout regimen this summer. (Kelly Kline/Nike)

If you're a college basketball coach looking to land Tobias Harris, here's a piece of advice.

Attend all of his games for the rest of the July evaluation period and make yourself visible.

UConn head coach Jim Calhoun, who recently sustained an injury in a bicycle accident at a charity event, made a particular impression on Torrel Harris during this week's Nike Peach Jam in South Carolina where Tobias helped lead his team to the semifinals.

"Even Calhoun had three broken ribs and he stayed to the end," Torrel, Tobias' father, said in a phone interview. "That's impressive."

What's more impressive is that Calhoun actually broke eight ribs, not three, but he's still on the recruiting trail.

Virtually every coach in the country would love to add the 6-foot-8, 210-pound Harris, a rising senior forward at Dix Hills' (N.Y.) Half Hollow Hills West High School.

With his performances so far at the NBA Top 100 Camp, the LeBron James Skills Academy and the Peach Jam, Harris has been one of the stars of the summer recruiting circuit.

"He's the best offensive forward in the country," one Big East assistant coach said. "He can face up, he can post up, he can drive. He can do everything. If they took a picture of his body from last year and compared it to this year, he can make millions of dollars doing body sculpting or weight loss ads. He looks thin, quick and bouncy.

"He's really good. He's the story of the summer."

Indeed, Harris' body has undergone a radical transformation.

Gone is the baby fat that characterized his face and upper body last summer.

It has been replaced by an agile, chiseled frame that is the result of a daily workout routine Harris began last fall with trainer Britton Kelley.

Harris awoke at 5 o'clock each morning and ran two miles near his home on Long Island. After he school, he went to the gym with his younger brother, Tyler -- also a Division 1 recruit -- and two teammates where they did "a whole bunch of drills."

Three days a week, Harris also participated in speed training drills, including pulling sleds, with Kelley at the Parisi Speed School in Islip, N.Y.

"The goal was to get him leaner and stronger which we did," Kelley said. "The nice thing about it was we got him faster, too."

The results have shown on the court.

Harris was the sixth-leading scorer at the NBA Top 100 Camp.

He wowed recruiting experts with his dominant play at the LeBron Camp.

And he had coaches frothing at the mouth with the way he routinely put up more than 20 points and 10 rebounds in games while leading the Albany City Rocks to the semifinals at the Peach Jam.

"I feel like I've been playing to the max game right now," Harris said.

"I'm just improving. I'm just looking to improve on my game and go against the best players. I think I've been doing well. I'm playing well, scoring a lot, rebounding, and getting everybody involved."

Coaches at every major program want to get involved with Harris.

According to Torrel, who is guiding his son's recruitment, the current list of potential colleges includes: Tennessee, UConn, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Maryland, Oklahoma, Georgia Tech, Rutgers, St.John's, Virginia, Kentucky, Louisville and West Virginia.

Memphis, Kentucky, Florida and UCLA are also trying to get involved, Torrel said.

"From what Tobias did at Peach Jam and LeBron, probably every college in America wants him now," Torrel said.

Referring to then-Memphis coach John Calipari, Torrel added, "From what Calipari did with Tyreke Evans, you gotta look at Kentucky.

"Memphis that's a relationship we have there since Josh [Pastner] got the job. Josh used to coach [Tobias' cousin] Channing Frye at Arizona. The reason Channing was a lottery pick was because of Josh Pastner."

Yet while those schools have recently entered the mix, Tobias said loyalty will be a critical factor in determining his ultimate college choice.

He and his father plan to cut the list down to about five sometime in August, and take five official visits from there.

"We are wide open but the way we're going to decide is the schools that have been loyal to me and I've been loyal to them," Tobias said.

"The way we're going to pick the schools is who's been showing interest and who's at most of the games."

Memo to college coaches: When Harris plays in Florida later this month, come early and don't leave until the games are over.

Adam Zagoria is a regular contributor to SNY.tv. ZagsBlog.com.
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