Harris on the Move at NBA Draft
NEWARK, N.J. -- Tobias Harris was in the NBA for mere minutes before he learned he was already on the move. Just another day in the new life of Long Island's most recent premier basketball alumnus.
The former Half Hollow Hills West superstar and Tennessee forward was selected No. 19 overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in Thursday's NBA Draft, but then was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a previous three-team trade.
The Bucks earlier in the day agreed to a mega deal that also included the Bobcats and Sacramento Kings.
"I just feel like it's a great fit for me as a player, coming in and bringing a winning attitude and just a great work ethic to the table," Harris said. "I believe that we have a great organization, and we are on the rise to doing big things in the conference. Being a hometown kid from New York, getting to go to this draft, and being in front of all my family and friends and fans... it's just a blessing from God."
Since his freshman season at Tennessee ended in March, Harris had been traveling the country and working out for one NBA team after another. Monday's stop was Detroit, Tuesday was Milwaukee, and the final stop was the stage at the Prudential Center, where commissioner David Stern called his name.
"There was a lot of anticipation," he admitted. "I didn't really know where I was going to go. Sitting there, you're just really anxious, but I knew God had a plan for me, whichever situation I was going to go to. I just sit there and let that rest in His hands."
A star at Half Hollow Hills West and Long Island Lutheran, the Dix Hills native was named the 2010 Mr. New York Basketball and a McDonald's All-American.
In one season at Tennessee, the 6-foot-8 Harris recorded over 15 points and seven rebounds per contest.
"(Playing in college) prepared me a lot," he said. "Our team faced a lot of adversity this year, just taught me to continue to grow as a player an as a person, and just continue to work hard and be the best at what I do."
Before the draft, Harris said, "I'm enjoying this time, and hearing my name called will be a dream come true. I couldn't have done it without my family, without God, and I know a lot of people support me, including my trainers, Jay Hernandez and Britton Kelley."
Because he never forgets the inspiration of his closest friend, Morgan Childs, who died three years ago at age 16 of a rare blood disorder, Harris added, "And my best friend that's in heaven now is watching over me. It will be a great experience."
The first step in the process of turning pro was choosing the right agent. Harris and his father, Torrel, who is a former basketball agent, selected Henry Thomas, who joined Creative Artists Agency two years ago and counts Miami's Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh among his clients.
"I've known him for 20 years since I was an agent," Torrel Harris said, "and Henry has always been respected and a high-character person. We wanted a marketing company, and CAA is the biggest."
"If anyone passes on him, you're passing on a future Hall of Famer," the elder Harris said of his son. "If Tobias is going to camps and outplaying guys at 18 and they pick an older guy over a guy with unlimited potential, that's their decision."
Harris had worked out for 10 lottery teams plus his hometown Knicks and Denver.
Greg Logan contributed to this report.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter