Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl had an unexpected guest at his 100th victory against UNC Asheville Tuesday night from top prospect Tobias Harris, his second such trip in the last month. Harris decided on Thursday he would like to do more than visit Knoxville. During a 6 p.m. press conference, Harris announced he would play his college basketball on Rocky Top.
Ranked the fifth-best player in the nation by Rivals.com, Harris is tied with Scotty Hopson as the highest-rated player to ink with the Vols under Pearl. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound power forward out of Glen Head, N.Y., was thought to be a Syracuse lock but admitted during his ESPNU press conference his relationship with Pearl persuaded him to head south for his college career.
Harris is also adept at keeping a secret — he managed to keep the fact he’d already signed a letter of intent with Tennessee under wraps until his press conference. During his announcement, he admitted to meeting the early-signing deadline by four minutes, inking with the Vols at 11:56 p.m.
All signs had pointed to Harris signing with the Vols Wednesday afternoon when Jayvaughn Pinkston, also a New York native, postponed a commitment announcement when he caught wind of Harris’ college destination. Pinkston and Harris play the same position and are thought to be against the idea of playing together. UT is still actively recruiting Pinkston, but he will now have to wait for the spring signing period to make his declaration.
Harris joins shooting guard Jordan McRae and point gaurd Trae Golden in the Vols 2010 signing class. Pearl still has two scholarships at his disposal as he enters the spring recruiting period.
One-time commitment Josh Selby, the nation’s No. 4-ranked player and the top shooting guard according to Rivals, and forward Luke Cothron are at the top of Pearl’s list as potential spring signees after both decided to delay their signing. At one point Selby had all but eliminated Tennessee in favor of Nike schools, but the latest reports say he will visit Tennessee again before making a decision. Cothron has decided to completely reopen his recruitment and will also visit before making his decision.
New signee Harris trades Big Apple for Big Orange
Published: Fri Nov 20, 2009