Elias Harris talks about playing with former Gonzaga teammates in the NBA Summer League, what he’s seen that’s different than the college game and what the craziest request from a fan has been.
By James Blackburn
Game Scouted: Davidson vs. Gonzaga (Old Spice Classic- Championship Game)
Gonzaga wins 81-67
Elias Harris (6’7”, F, SR)
31 min, 9-11 FG, 6-7 FT, 10 reb, 1 assist, 4 TO, 2 blk, 2 steals, 24 TP
Harris is a skilled player with solid length and muscle. He is an excellent rebounder on both ends and he crashes the offensive glass every time. He also boxes out on the defensive end and held one of Davidson’s best offensive rebounders to only 6 total rebounds. He attacks the ball and grabs it with two hands. Defensively he showed the ability to switch practically every screen and the ability to guard in the post and on the perimeter adequately.
Offensively, Harris can both shoot and score on the low block. Although he didn’t take any 3-pointers this game, he shows good shooting mechanics and shot the ball from 3 pretty well last year. He is a great FT shooter as well showing nice shooting touch. He has an effortless release and good follow through. Also, worth noting is that Elias has soft hands and a soft shooting touch. He can catch nearly any pass thrown to him and does a nice job giving a hand target in the post. Excellent hands overall.
He gets deep post position and once he has the ball he is an efficient scorer. He has a nice jump hook and a sly spin move. Does a decent job of running the floor in transition and excels at being the trailer on the secondary break as he is a solid passer. He also lead the break several times and had a couple of assist to open teammates. Can handle the ball decently and showed he can get by defender at top of key with the straight line dribble drive. Can use either hand, although he prefers to go right.
Despite being stronger and weighing more then practically any one he goes up against, he needs to be stronger with the ball in the post. Half of his turnovers this game came from the post where Davidson was able to take the ball from him. He brought it too low several times and the guards were able to take it. He didn’t seem to deal with the physical play of Davidson very well either, and some of his turnovers came from when he was doubled or bumped. He plays mostly under the rim and is not very explosive, which can be attributed to his extra weight. He needs to continue to develop ball handling skills and the ability to change directions and create shot on perimeter.
Most of Harris deficiencies at least seen from this game came on the defensive end. Although he did have a couple of nice blocks and some steals he has some work to do on the defensive side of the ball. He didn’t close out well, often jumping out of control, allowing his man to go right by. He is too tall and straight up and not in good defensive stance when playing perimeter D and he doesn’t contest many perimeter jump shots, as his hands are often down. He also got caught to easily on screens and didn’t fight very hard to get around them. Poor P/R defender- content to just switch all screens. This might work at the college level, but will not work very well at next level. He does not have the lateral quickness to stay in front of PG, SG, or SF in the NBA.
His conditioning is not up to par either and could stand to lose a little bit of weight to gain back some explosiveness and be able to get up and down the floor a little better. He lost track of his man a few times as he didn’t see both man and ball at all times. Just seemed to lose concentration on the defensive side of the ball at times. Looked engaged and in solid position on some possessions and then terrible on other possessions. I attribute this mostly to him not being in game shape.
Good overall game for Harris as he led the Zags in points and rebounds in a championship game. His offensive game looked solid and I believe his defensive game will improve as the season goes on. He displayed good even keeled body language throughout game even when he did not get the ball in the post as he had great post position most of the game and should of gotten the ball more.
He has the skills to play in the NBA and is worthy of picking in late 2nd round and/or giving summer league/training camp invite to. Would be an excellent candidate for D-League to continue to learn the pro game and after a season be ready to contribute more in the NBA.
Reminds me of Glenn Davis who plays for the Orlando Magic. Both players are undersized 4 men and both have great hands and are good rebounders. Scouts question the fact that he does not have a clear cut position at next level, doesn’t have speed/perimeter skills to play or defend the SF at next level, and doesn’t have height and athleticism to play PF at next level.
I see him playing the PF in the NBA however as he does have good strength and solid wingspan, making him bigger then 6’7”. He also has great rebounding skills which will translate to the pros and can defend PF’s better then he could defend SF’s. Scouts will want to watch him match up against bigger players in the post and see if he is capable of playing the 4 man in the NBA.