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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / August 17.
  • Torrel Harris: ‘Huggins Was Awesome’

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    After talking to Torrel Harris this morning, I will be shocked if West Virginia doesn’t merit some serious consideration from Tobias Harris as he cuts his list.

    “Huggins was awesome. Huggs is the man. Huggs is the man,” Torrel said of West Virginia coach Bob Huggins after Tuesday night’s in-home visit with the family.

    Tobias is a 6-8 forward from Dix Hills (NY) Half Hollow Hills West who is considering 11 schools. Nine of them have now come in for home visits, with Maryland still to come Thursday and UConn tentatively set for Saturday.

    Torrel Harris has repeatedly said he’s looking for a program that emphasizes the point forward position, will make Tobias a better player and put him in position to potentially play in the NBA.

    He admitted that every school on the list has been impressive in its home visits, but seemed especially excited about Huggins’ presentation.

    “He has got a plan, he’s going to win a championship,” Torrel said. “Huggs is not fooling around. He’s got a plan to win a championship and in the meantime, he’s going to help you get better and better every day in practice. He’s going to practice you like a pro every day.

    “So when we’re in the championship you’re going to be prepared for the NBA, not just going into the NBA, but going into the NBA and being a special player.

    “He had a plan how he’s going to do all of that, he laid it out.”

    That plan also included accumulating enough academic credits so that if Tobias potentially goes pro after two years, he can return to campus the next summer to get his degree.

    “After they win the championship, he can come back in the summertime and finish it off,” Torrel said.

    Here are Torrel’s thoughts on a few other recent home visits:

    SYRACUSE COACH JIM BOEHEIM: “He was honest and straightforward. He was awesome. Coach Boeheim has 10 McDonald’s All-Americans and seven of them went in the first round. That’s impressive.”

    TENNESSEE COACH BRUCE PEARL:  “Tennessee was good. Coach Pearl’s a great guy, good guy. He has a good winning percentage coach.”

    OKLAHOMA COACH JEFF CAPEL: “The Oklahoma visit was awesome. We really like the presentation from Jeff Capel and his staff. We like the direction Coach Capel is leading his team to the next level and winning. He spoke about academics, his basketball program, development workouts and getting his players better.

    “His basketball staff is strong and understands helping players improve their skill level. Very impressed by the future. Three years at Oklahoma, three first-round draft picks. Many NBA prospects to follow from his program.”

    ST. JOHN’S COACH NORM ROBERTS: “Norm had a great plan how he’s going to turn St. John’s around. They were on probation. When you’re at where St. John’s was, he started from scratch. Instead of getting JUCO players, he went with a young freshman group with good character kids.

    “Now they’re all juniors. Now people are going to see for the fist time, now they’re going to see some of our progress.”

    “I can relate to that because with my daughter at Delaware, she was a freshman and the freshmen became sophomores. Now they added other pieces. Now they got a run for the next two years. Now they added Elena Delle Donne. Once you start winning everyone wants to be a part of you.”

    THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

    After the home visits end this weekend, Torrel said the family will think about the process for a week before cutting the list to five official visits.

    “After Saturday we’re going to think about it for a week and then a week later we’re going to cut it down,” he said. “We’re going to go over everything. We’re not going to rush on cutting it down because everyone came in here with a plan. Everybody came in with a plan.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.