Monday, June 18, 2007

49ers' walk-on got game

DiJuan Harris is joining the Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team as a sophomore walk-on next season.
But the term 'walk-on' doesn't nearly do him justice.
Harris, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound point guard, was lightning quick up and down the court Monday night as his Bring It On team lost its opener to McNasty in the opening night of the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation/Jeff McInnis Summer League at the Grady Cole Center.
His passes were on target; he hit the open jumper; and best yet for Charlotte fans, the 20-year-old excelled at dribble penetration.
And Harris, who starred in high school at Charlotte's Victory Christian before spending one season in junior college, wasn't playing against bad competition, either. He spent most of the game facing off against Jeff McInnis and Raymond Felton of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats.
When the game finally ended, Harris' father went over to the group of a dozen or so 49ers fans in the stands and exclaimed, "You've got yourself a team now."
I caught up with Harris for a few minutes after the game, a 72-68 loss to McNasty, for a few questions.

Question: You're playing on a team with several players who will join you at Charlotte next season. What do you think so far?
Harris: I'm very excited. This year is going to be very exciting. A lot of people have a lot of questions about our team and we're ready to answer them. We got Leemire Goldwire, we got Ian Andersen and we have a great coach (Bobby Lutz). He's genius and knows how to win.

Question: How did you like playing against McInnis and Felton?
Harris: At first I just wanted to go out there and show them I could do this. Felton told me, 'DiJuan slow down. Relax.' So I did and I got in a little groove. It was very exciting to be on the same floor as those guys.

Question: Did you notice the Charlotte fans tonight?
Harris: I loved it. I loved it. I love the fans.

Question: Is one of your goals to earn a scholarship?
Harris: It's definitely one of my goals. I'm going to be here working my tail off every day. I have a great work ethic. I believe in the system. I stayed here and think I will deserve a scholarship.

Question: Have you always been known to be a quick guard?
Harris: I've been fast but I haven't always known how to control my speed. During my year in junior college I finally learned how to control my speed. I learned how to stay fast, be able to control the basketball and not turn the ball over so much. I love feeding my big men and getting every body else the ball.

Question: Tell me what it's going to be like playing with Phil (Jones)?
Harris: It's easy. We have a 6-11 center to throw the ball down into and he makes his shots. Not only does he do that, he's a very unselfish player. The first thing he does when he catches it in the post is to look opposite for another player. He'll have a double-double every night. By the time we get to conference play, teams will be doubling up on him. But because he's so unselfish, Lee and Ian will benefit from that with open threes. -- Jim Utter


Justin Ritchie said...

Wow, great to hear that the 49ers have such a capable passer coming in. Our team is going to be amazing this season despite what any critic or casual fan of last season may think. But even more amazing is our potential for 2008-2009, that's going to be one beastly squad. I think Coach Lutz has finally found some talented guys that will know how to play together.

Anonymous said...

This kid is MCNASTY!

I thought the hype about him being good was about him being good for a walkon player.

But this kid is schooling Felton and McGinnis. He is an excellent player, one that you would compare to another full scholorship player, not a walkon.

Blown away by his good attitude and great skill. His dad rocks too.

Anonymous said...

although Felton and McInnis (especially McInnis) weren't playing 100%, this kid is a walk on and was taking it right to these NBA players and scoring. He's quick and fearless. They even commented that they were impressed by him. Definitely an upgrade over Carlos.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see such a class act suit up in the green and white. Welcome aboard Harris!

Anonymous said...

I love this kid's attitude. He'll be a favorite of mine becasue of his quote, "Kids grow up wanting to play in the ACC, but Charlotte is my Duke. It's my Carolina. It's where I have always wanted to play."
Hard not cheer for this kid!