Despite the recent charges against four members of the Tennessee men’s basketball program, the Vols highest profile recruit is standing by the school.
Tobias Harris, a 6-foot-8 senior forward from Long Island who signed in November with Tennessee, said he views the program as “family” and stands by his commitment.
“When members of a family go through adversity, you remain strong,” he wrote in a text message. “You can name a lot of negatives about the program right now but you can name some very important positives, such as me being the leader I am and a first-class kid on and off the court that I can have a greater impact in turning this situation around in a more positive way than it is now, not only with basketball but with everything else.”
He added: “We are going to wait and see how everything plays out with the players and team and go from there. I don’t know too much information right now.”
Harris chose UT over a slew of high-profile programs, including Syracuse, Louisville, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Senior forward Tyler Smith, sophomore guard Cameron Tatum, junior center Brian Williams and junior point guard Melvin Goins are facing misdemeanor drug, gun and alcohol charges. Knoxville police arrested the four Friday after stopping the car they were in for speeding.
Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl formally apologized to the school and to Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt Saturday.
“This is tough. This is so hard because we’ve worked so hard to try to do the right things,” Pearl said, according to the AP.
The four players are indefinitely suspended, and Pearl says dismissal could be an option once he has more information about the incident, according to the AP.
(The AP contributed)
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.