Evans High School basketball player John Michael Harris
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Evans High School basketball player John Michael Harris is not the excitable type. Whether he's just drained a game-winning basket or missed a makable shot, his face exhibits the calm demeanor of a high-stakes poker player.
Any wasted emotion would just distract him from the task at hand.
"To me, that just shows his focus," Evans coach Kevin Kenny said. "When he steps on the court, he's going to do whatever it takes to help the team win. He's not a rah-rah type. When he does speak up, the other players listen, because they know it's serious business."
That mature, even-keel approach is one of the reasons why Harris has displayed a penchant for clutch performances during a stellar prep career.
"Basketball is a roller-coaster game, the momentum shifts for 32 minutes and anything can happen," Harris said. "My dad told me to always try to think one play ahead of everybody else. Experience has helped me stay calm."
Harris was a starter his freshman year at Augusta Christian School, and was named team MVP. He transferred to Evans prior to his junior year, and went on to earn MVP honors with the Knights.
Now, as his senior season comes to a close, Harris wonders where the time went.
"It seemed like yesterday that I was a freshman at Augusta Christian," he said. "I think it's really going to hit me Saturday that I'm playing my last game here at Evans."
This season Harris is leading the Knights in several statistical categories, including scoring (15.3 points per game), assists (4.1) and steals (2.8).
"He's posted some pretty good numbers while competing against some of the most talented high school athletes in the state," Kenny said. "He has held his own against quality opponents because he's one of the toughest competitors there is in the area. There's no doubt he'll play at the next level."
Harris is well on his way to claiming another MVP award in basketball, but that's not why he arrives early at practice and puts in hours of work during the off-season.
"I put winning above all the personal accolades," he said. "I just play for a region championship and a state championship. If you're not playing for that, there's really no reason to be playing."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.