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.
One year of college was all Tobias Harris needed.
The 6-foot-8, 226-pound freshman forward from Tennessee will remain in the NBA Draft and forgo his final three years of college eligibility.
“Want to thank all that supported me during my time at UT. Its truly been a blessing, the Lord has guided me in the greatest of ways,” Harris posted on Twitter Friday afternoon.
Harris, a Dix Hills, N.Y., native, is projected as the No. 16 pick in the June 23 draft by DraftExpress.com.
He has been preparing for the NBA by working out with former NBA greats George Gervin, a family friend, and John Lucas and speed, agility, strength and conditioning coach Britton Kelly.
He has also worked out for several NBA teams, said his father, Torrel, and those teams came away “very impressed with his shooting ability and how physically fit his body looks.”
“The NBA teams are very impressed with Tobias’ versatility, [his ability to play] multiple positions as a player, his work ethic, his character, his unselfishness as a player, his winning desire, his attitude, his willingness to make other players better and his willingness to get better,” Torrel said. “He’s coachable and he’s a fast learner at a very young age. His potential is unlimited.”
Torrel said the family will interview five agents within the next week or so and choose one to represent Tobias.
Harris averaged 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in his only year at Tennessee. He was a USBWA Freshman All-America second-team selection and was named to the All-SEC second-team as well as the SEC All-Freshman team.
“He’s played terrifically,” former UT coach Bruce Pearl said during the season. “He has played great down the stretch. He’s a professional at a very, very young age because of his discipline, his toughness, his mental focus, his preparation.”
A former McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American, Harris graduated from Half Hollow Hills High School West.
In his senior season, he led the Colts to a 24-2 record and an appearance in the 2010 New York State Class AA championship game while averaging 24.7 points and 14.4 rebounds.
Harris became the school’s all-time leading scorer after his sophomore year and became the 12th Long Island prep player to score 2,000 career points. Harris, along with younger brother Tyler, a 6-9 forward who recently signed with North Carolina State, also captured the New York State Championship while at Long Island Lutheran in 2009.
“First of all, Tobias is a wonderful young man,” Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said in a statement. “He had a great freshman season, but more importantly he also conducts himself in all the right ways off the court. There’s no doubt he’ll be successful.
“He’ll always be a Tennessee Volunteer, and just like every other former player, we’re always here for him. He’s part of the family.”
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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.