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Basketball Recruiting

Duke pledge Darren Harris talks upcoming season, Duke's 2024 class, more

August 2, 2023

Over the last few years, Darren Harris has overcome plenty of obstacles including a broken shooting hand, one that kept him out for quite some time. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of Paul VI in Fairfax, VA, was once viewed as a five-star, but many began to sleep on Harris once sidelined with an injury.

Harris became yet another Paul VI product to announce a commitment to Duke and will look to evolve his game in his upcoming senior season before heading to Durham. 

It was a strong AAU season for Harris who had plenty to prove on the circuit since he was returning to his pre-injury form. Harris led Team Takeover in scoring at 14.5 points per game and took home the Peach Jam MVP. 

He was able to showcase just more than being a long-distance shooting threat and showed that he’s an active defender, can play make when needed, but also just slashing and getting to the rim and being a physical threat.

Jon Scheyer and his staff definitely understand what they got in Harris. It’s baffling that several outlets felt the need to drop him so far in rankings. Yes, an injury to the shooting hand is tough, but Harris has proven he’s more than a shooter and has already begun proving people wrong.

I still value Harris as a five-star and a future NBA draft pick.

And hoops have been in this guy's blood. Harris' basketball journey began when he was shadowing his father, who was a high school basketball coach. Harris said he practically grew up in the gym, saying he was around the game of basketball so much and it made him realize it’s what he wants to do.

Harris caught up with and we talked about his upcoming season, his Duke pledge, his past AAU season, and who he’s recruiting to join him in Durham.

So, how was it returning back to the court from injury this year?

“It was great, we had a loaded team, and all of us bonded really well. We were like family. After getting hurt in the playoffs last year, I came out hungry to prove some things. We ended up making Geico which was a goal of ours and lost to the eventual champs. This year we are hungrier to return and win it all.”

Would you say you’re back to your regular self and at 100%, maybe even got better post-injury?

“Yeah I think I got better, a broken shooting hand for a player like me could always be scary. And there were some inconsistencies throughout my comeback last AAU season. I definitely improved at shooting, and everything else in my game.”

And what areas of your game would you say evolved this past year?

“My defense is probably the biggest improvement. and also my ball handling and confidence getting to the rim and to the free throw line. A lot of people look at me as a shooter but don't realize I also led my team in free throw attempts this AAU season.”

And this year, before Duke, what areas have you wanted to improve on or anything Coach Scheyer and the staff has keyed in on you working on?

“I wanted to improve on defense and rebounding. And I feel I did that throughout the year. And the coaching staff really just preached for me to go out and be confident every game. And be in attack mode every game.”

Speaking of Duke, you still stay in touch with the staff right? What’s the relationship like with them a long time after committing?

“Yeah I stay in touch a lot, and our relationship is good. They're honest and let me know when I'm not performing to my capabilities. And updates me on who we are recruiting and stuff.”

Another year with Duke players drafted, when you see that, what goes through your head?

“That if I stay on the path I'm on right now I can be in that position as well. And I have and will have all the resources to make it happen, it's just about making it happen.”

And what are you looking forward to most about playing at Duke?

“Getting better every day, and the big time games like the tournament, champions classic. I love playing in those games and feel like I shine when the lights are the brightest.”

And what is the 2024 class looking like for you guys, thoughts on that and anyone you’re recruiting yourself?

“I mean obviously we have Slim [Isaiah Evans] committed already. I love his game, I feel like we can complement each other well in the future. We can both score at a high level. But I'm working on getting Pat to commit, I've been close with him since like 5th grade. And we're teammates in AAU and high school. That'd be big.”

Explain why you’re still the same player you are before your injury and why doubters should stop doubting?

“I mean I've won championships at the high school level, I just won a peach jam championship and got MVP. I don't really know what there is to doubt. I'm my biggest critic, and never paid attention to doubters. But I hope the country is on notice now.”

What is your on-court mentality?

“It's changed a little bit over the past year because I feel like people were sleeping on me. I came into peach jam trying to prove something and I feel I did that. But now it about keeps killing when I am getting more recognition and publicity.”

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