Cole Harrison didn’t feel much different when he woke up on Sunday, his 19th birthday. The Montrose Christian senior still stood 6-foot-10, built for the game of basketball he loves, and he still believed Dartmouth was the school for him.
The feeling had been weighing on Harrison for about two weeks, even after official visits to Mercer and Wofford. And once he saw the accompanying financial aid package, Harrison solidified his notion by committing to Dartmouth on Monday.
“Dartmouth has shown me interest for a while now and after I took an official visit toward the end of the season, I just fell in love with the campus and coaching staff,” Harrison said in a Monday night phone interview. “As I thought about it more and more, I knew this would be a forty-year decision, not a four-year decision, and going to an Ivy League school like Dartmouth was a no-brainer in the end.”
Harrison’s commitment punctuates a high school journey that saw him transfer to Montrose Christian this past fall in hopes of reaching his dream of playing high-level college basketball.
In his lone season with the Mustangs, Harrison averaged 6 points and 7.5 rebounds. As he became better accustomed to the Montrose’s system, the senior center made strides as a strong rebounder and defender, culminating with an impressive, 11-point, six-rebound performance in a season-ending loss to Findlay Prep at the National High School Invitational.
Since picking up his offer from Dartmouth last summer, Harrison totaled 13 Division I offers from the likes of Towson, UMBC, Lipscomb, Mercer and Wofford.
Harrison said Dartmouth’s use of the Princeton offense will allow him to play in the post and face up for short jump shots, which is one of his strengths.
“I’ve always tried to start games by making an impact at the defensive end, but I feel like I can also make a difference with my rebounding and overall presence inside the lane,” Harrison said. “I’ve learned this past year how to help my team win without having to score.”
After playing at Battle Ground Academy in Tennessee, Harrison transferred in state to Brentwood for his sophomore and junior seasons. As a freshman, Harrison played with future Montrose Christian teammate Ishmail Wainright on the Memphis YOMCA travel team, opening the door for Harrison’s eventual move to the Mustangs as a senior.
At Montrose, Harrison lost 25 pounds through the strength and conditioning program and has maintained a 4.0 GPA, both of which opened the door for him to become the third Mustang to commit to a Division I school this season. Wainright signed with Baylor while Mark Williams pledged to Temple last month.
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