The son of a basketball coach, Oxon Hill senior Magic Harris grew up in the gym with the ever-present dream of earning a Division I scholarship . Last summer, the 5-foot-11 point guard passed on AAU competition to focus in the classroom with the understanding he’d need better grades to reach that lofty goal.
Harris managed to qualify academically and took his time in recent weeks examining his college options. The guard said he had low-level Division I offers from St. Francis (Pa.) and Fairfield. In the end, he decided the Division I distinction wasn’t that important after all.
On Monday, Harris signed with Division II Seton Hill, accepting a full scholarship offer to a school that he believes offers a better fit than any of his other suitors.
“In D-2, I can make a name for myself,” Harris said. “If you’re good, they’ll come and find you [to play professionally]. … My freshman year, I didn’t want to be redshirted or not get a lot of time. I wanted to pick a school where I know I can help out.”
Oxon Hill Coach Sam Harris, Magic’s father, said he was “shocked” when his son decided on the Pennsylvania school but pleased by the thought put into the choice.
“I’ve always been the one telling him what teams he should play on, and I wanted this to be his decision,” said Harris, a longtime Prince George’s County coach who took over at Oxon Hill before his son’s junior season. “He thought about it and made the best decision based on what is most important in his life. I’m just really, really happy for him.”
Griffins Coach Tony Morocco promised Magic Harris a chance to play early and outlined an academic support plan that included a personal tutor. The second factor took particular importance given the hard work it took for him to earn the grades and standardized test scores necessary to qualify.
Harris appeared ticketed for prep school or junior college at this time last year. At Seton Hill, he plans to major in either business management, accounting or communications.
“It changed my whole mindset,” Harris said of his academic turnaround. “It’s not just about basketball. If you get an injury or something, you have to have the education to back it up.”
Harris averaged 15.3 points and 9.4 assists per game during his senior season, though the Clippers struggled to a 7-15 record.
Morocco has been active recruiting the Washington area in recent seasons. This winter, the Griffins went 16-12 with a roster included junior swingman Max Kenyi (Gonzaga), freshman guard Kameron Taylor (DeMatha) sophomore Lenjo Kilo (Northwood).
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
The St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes girls’ lacrosse team is loaded with college-bound talent, including 2012 All-Met Player of the Year Carly Reed. The top-ranked Saints will try to claim the ISL-AA title on Wednesday against No. 2 Georgetown Visitation.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 2.8
The number of seconds left when Chesapeake senior Austin Brown scored the game-winning goal in Monday’s 9-8 playoff boys’ lacrosse victory at top-seeded Northern. The Cougars advance to the Maryland 4A/3A East final, traveling to meet defending state champ South River on Wednesday night. The Seahawks blew past Huntingtown, 19-6.
– Jimmy Kuzma has long been the unsung hero for Gonzaga‘s lacrosse team, but he stepped up with the offense in Monday’s WCAC final to push the Eagles over Paul VI for their fourth straight conference crown. (Photos here)
– In the deciding game of the WCAC baseball championship series, DeMatha senior Kevin Fitzmaurice came through with the RBI fielder’s choice that delivered the Stags to a 1-0 win over Bishop McNamara and their first title since 2008.
– Bullis junior Kasey Countee repeated as the IAC No. 1 singles tennis champ, while St. Albans earned the team title.
– Meet Bowie’s Brandon Bailey, who showed the path to Division I lacrosse out of Prince George’s County does not have to include a stop at an area private school.
– Two-time All-Met Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year Tierra Ruffin-Pratt is hoping to make the Mystics.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY:
Heading into its regular season finale, Loudoun County has lost two straight games, but the 10th-ranked Raiders did knock off No. 7 Woodgrove, 3-2, in their previous meeting. Behind junior pitcher Jazmyn Rohrer, the Wolverines, who won last year’s Virginia AA title, have allowed just one run in their past seven games and four total during their current 10-game winning streak.