Heritage Christian guard Jared Harrington believes he’s a Division I prospect. He believes his numbers support his theory: 14 points per game overall, a 20-point showing against top area team Clinton Christian and a 19 point night against National Christian, a 26-point showing against Laurel, whose defense keyed on him most of the game, and others.
He also believes he now fits the part of a Division I prospect: at 5-10 last season, Harrington admits “I couldn’t guard the bigger guys.” Now, a year and five inches later, Harrington matches up with the area’s top guards, and says the size helps him get to the basket, absorb contact, and finish while also helping him defend players stationed all over the court.
But Harrington knows he’s got to earn opportunities to show off his game. He was an eighth-grader at Princeton Day before heading to new school Heritage Christian, established in 2011, for his ninth grade year.
As for any new school in the well-established D.C. basketball universe, Heritage Christian struggled, and practice time was hard to come by as the campus didn’t have a gym to use, so coaches scrounged for gym time at area schools. But after his freshman year, Harrington wanted to be a part of his team’s growth.
“People said I should leave because we don’t get a lot of publicity and stuff,” Harrington said, acknowledging that he may still make a move for his senior year depending on the recruiting success of his AAU season. “But this is a tight-knit coaching staff and a tight team. I decided to stay because I want to be a leader and can’t use things as excuses: if we can tough it out, we can get better as a team. We’ve already progressed from last year to this year, and I think that’s because of our coaching and players. I love my team, so that’s why I decided to stay.”
So he stayed as Heritage Christian struggled against a tough Capital Beltway schedule in 2012-2013, scoring 13 points per game as his team battled through a 5-30 season. That season prompted the school to leave the Capital Beltway Conference, according to coach Chad Evans, because the lack of relative practice time and the newness of the program made it tough to challenge schools like Clinton Christian or Riverdale Baptist night in and night out.
This season, the school has a nearby gym to practice in more often, making things easier on Harrington and his teammates. Harrington’s growth spurt didn’t hurt, either, and the team’s record improved to 7-17 as players like senior forward Sean Carter (11 points per game) and junior guard Jordan Savage (11 ppg) emerged. A few Division I coaches took notice, asking Harrington to send his AAU schedule so that they could check him out over the summer.
As a result, AAU gained more importance for Harrington, who was initially scheduled to play with Team Takeover before switching to Threat 220 and A.B.U. Sports.
“I think the switch would be better for me because I don’t know if I would get as much playing time as I would,” Harrington said. “It’s a really important summer for me, so I wanted to get as much floor time as possible.”
Evans says Harrington is a “very good slasher with a good mid-range jump shot and solid defense” and whose growth spurt “most definitely” increased his level of play. The junior hopes to take his game to another level this summer, and make sure his unorthodox path leads him to his Division I dreams.
“I have to keep working hard and do what I did this season — when we play big teams, well-established teams, I have to show out and play my best game because I never know who’s watching,” Harrington said. “A lot of people we’ll play are highly rated, so once I compete against them and play well, people are going to start noticing me. ”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 26
Harrington’s season-high this season was 26, done twice: once against Laurel and once against Grace Christian Academy.
— Third-ranked Northern softball avenged last week’s stunning loss to SMAC rival Chopticon with a dominant 6-0 victory on Tuesday night.
— No. 6 Howard dominated No. 8 Centennial in a key early-season Howard County boys’ lacrosse matchup. Read the story here.
— In girls’ soccer, No. 6 Westfield blanked Yorktown, 1-0.
— Which team won the poll as the best play of the 2013-14 basketball season? See here.
— Good Counsel’s Kevin Budock won the 138-pound, sophomore division at the National High School Coaches Association wrestling title.
— Potomac and Edison fill out Virginia’s 5A All-State basketball teams
— Recruiting is a “business” for McNamara DB Ashton White, who’s transferred high schools and decommitted from Virginia Tech this year
–Briar Woods receiver Brandon Polk has made his college choice. Read where he’s headed here.
PHOTOS OF THE DAY:
In a big Virginia high school matchup, No. 7 West Springfield edged No. 4 Chantilly 1-0 on Friday. Check out the gallery from the early season showdown here:
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
Virginia public school lacrosse has improved markedly over the past decade. But as this week’s game between Robinson and No. 2 Landon showed, the IAC still reigns in D.C.-area lax:
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Boys’ soccer: Forest Park visits Battlefield in a key early-season clash for two contenders in Prince William County. Kickoff is at 7, and you can follow Post reporter Roman Stubbs for updates at @romanstubbs.