Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Orange Park Guard Sees All, Shows Skills; He's One of the Stars in Clay High School Basketball This Year

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Orange Park Guard Sees All, Shows Skills; He's One of the Stars in Clay High School Basketball This Year

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL JOHNSON

Michael Harris does not have eyes in the back of his head, it just looks that way when he plays.

The Orange Park senior scored 24 points Thursday against Keystone Heights and put up 15 against Fleming Island on Friday as the Raiders rolled out to a 5-0 season record heading into a district match-up with Fletcher on Monday.

Yet to simply say that Harris scored 39 points in those two games doesn't do justice to the myriad of ways the 6-foot senior has found of putting a rubber ball through a metal basket.

Yes, he's a guard who can make the free throws, the mid- to long-range jumpers and the three-pointers (five against Keystone), but mixing it up with the big boys in the paint is where Harris seems to really get creative.

Twice in Friday night's 56-41 win over the Golden Eagles, Harris seemed to fly by a well-guarded hoop only to flick the ball back over his shoulder and off the board for two points.

"Absolutely," Coach Daryl Lauderdale said, when asked about Harris' alleged extra set of peepers. "He just shoots the ball so well. He's so smart. He's one of the smartest players I've ever coached. And he's under control."

Maybe too under control, in fact. Last year, Lauderdale had to have a talk with Harris about his shooting. Problem was, he wasn't.

"He's not a point-conscious person, believe it or not," the coach said. "As a matter of fact, just last year when I had him, I told him, 'I think you can shoot the ball, and if you don't shoot it, you're coming out.' So, he has the green light to shoot whenever he wants to, but he's such an unselfish kid, he's not going to take that shot."

Against the "Heights" of Keystone, a team with incredible size, it made sense that Harris would put up the five threes. Against a smaller Eagle squad, he cut down his long-range game to feed his teammates on the inside, even though he very likely could have scored from anywhere on the court. (In the second period, ahead 18-6, he took an inbounds pass just a few feet inside the half-court mark and pulled the trigger on his first three-pointer.)

Harris, however, would rather talk about his team than himself. …

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