Sleeper Report: Joe Harris (Virginia)

Joe Harris basketball virginia

By James Blackburn

Game Scouted: Virginia @ Wake Forest
Wake wins 55-52
Box Score

Joe Harris (G, 6’6”, JR)

Stats
34 min, 5-14 FG, 2-3 3 pt, 1-1 FT, 4 reb, 2 assist, 4 TO, 1 blk, 1 steal, 13 TP

Strengths
Has tremendous size for the off-guard position (6’6”, 211 lbs)- towered over and looked bigger then whoever defended him tonight. His size allows him to get his shot off even when defenders contest his shot. Known as a knockdown set shooter from the 3-point line, Joe didn’t hit his first 3 until about a minute to go in the contest. Wake did a good job of running him off the 3 point line and making him put the ball on the floor, which he showed the ability to do several times tonight and go to his left or right in a straight line drive and finish.

His shooting is his best attribute offensively, however. His shot is pure and effortless. He has a quick and high release and factoring in that he is a legit 6’6”, he can get it off on just about anyone. Does a tremendous job of getting his feet and shoulders square to the rim every time he shoots- not just on his set shots, but also on shots off the dribble or when coming off of screens. He shoots on balance and can shoot the 1-dribble pull-up as well as set 3’s. Hit 2 big time 3’s with under 30 seconds to go to keep game tight and to pull VA with in 1. Showed the willingness to take and hit the big shot. He came into the game shooting 47% from 3 and 49% from the field. Above average FT shooter- only shot one this game, drops his hands on his follow through a little but is shooting over 75% from the line for his career, and it does not seem to effect his shot.

Does not have a great first step but is quick enough to get around his defender when they close out because of the respect he gets as a shooter. Has a quicker first step on offense that I would of thought coming in. Several times tonight he showcased some nice quick violent jab stabs that threw his defender off balance and allowed him to create separation from his defender to shoot or to get to the rim. CJ Harris for Wake stayed on him when he was in the corner rather then dropping to help. Turned his back nicely to the opposite baseline and went up strong to get the old- fashion 3-point play in first 2 minutes of game.

Moves well without the basketball. Made a couple of plays this game for teammates after attacking rim- Underrated passer- had several nice assists this game. Decent rebounder, showed some tenacity by sticking with his misses and usually rebounding his own miss. Got a big defensive rebound with 35 seconds to go off a FT by Wake.

Defensively, he showed good help side defense and impressed me w/ his activity level on the defensive end in general- even dived on the floor a couple of times to go for loose balls. Average lateral quickness, but did guard 3 positions tonight. Did a better job of defending Chase Fischer (Wake’s shooter) in the second half and not leaving him to help. Contests most shots on the perimeter with a high hand. At his best when he guards a slower 3 or a shooter 2.

Against Wake in this game he was much more then just a set shooter- defended and made plays for teammates.

Weaknesses

Limited on both sides of the ball because of below average speed and athleticism. Quickness was better then I would have thought, but would not say he was much better then average. Defensively he tends to over help at times- must know who is he is guarding- left a shooter a couple of times. He impressed me overall on the defensive side of the ball tonight, mostly because I though he was strictly a shooter, but he tends to come out of his stance at times and a player like him must stay low when guarding. He picked up 4 fouls this game because of having to use his hands a couple of times on the perimeter to keep quicker guards out of the paint. Closed out a couple of times too hard and actually did a decent job of recovering to contest the shot- but this got him into trouble a few times as well.

Capable of straight line drives but struggles to change speeds or directions with the ball. Not very comfortable dribbling the ball up the floor under pressure- must improve his ball handling.

His conditioning is above average (played a team high 34 minutes tonight), but he could improve this area to a degree – looked tired a couple of times with his hands on his knees, but he plays hard on every possession when he is on the floor.

Struggled tonight offensively shooting 5-14 from the field. After finishing his first drive on a lay-up with contact, he struggled to finish inside after Wake ran him off the 3-point line. Turned the ball over several times by over penetrating and losing his dribble.

Overview
Came into game tonight after scoring 19 points in a win over UNC. Leads team in ppg (15.3), asp (2.5), and 3ptFG% (47%) coming into tonight’s game. Also came into this game having scored in double-figures in 12 of the previous 14 games.

Was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Washington in 2010 in HS and was selected as the Gatorade Washington Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Also played football for 3-years in HS, which explains his strength level and toughness.

I believe that with his size and shooting ability, there is a place for Harris in the NBA. That depends on how much he improves over this summer and how he plays the rest of this year and his senior year next year. It also depends on if he can get into the right system at the next level. I see him as a corner 3-point specialist (every team can use one of those), who will also get after it on the defensive end. Being 6’6” and 210 lbs, he has NBA size to play the shooting guard now- has solid core strength and wont get pushed around at next level. Will most likely be 2nd or 3rd option at the off guard and will probably put in some time in the D-League as well. Would be worth a mid to late second round pick for some teams and definitely worth a summer league and/or training camp invite for most teams.

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