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Jan 11, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Toreros head coach Bill Grier talks with his team in a timeout during the first half against the Pepperdine Waves at Jenny Craig Pavillion. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the Freshmen: San Diego's Marcus Harris

Marcus Harris became the first member of the San Diego Toreros recruiting class after his early commitment, and the scoring machine could make his name known when he hits campus this Fall. Harris committed to USD back in November of 2013, not long after he was seen on a visit to the Acala Park campus in September.

The visit clearly made an impact on Harris as he was seen spending a lot of time with the team including attending the volleyball match where the Toreros upset the No. 1 ranked USC Trojans. Harris can be seen in a number of photos storming the court along with the rest of the basketball team, and perhaps the electric crowd in the Jenny Craig Pavilion that day helped him imagine what it would be like playing for the Toreros in that environment. Harris was quoted as saying, “I felt like I was at home when I was there.” If Harris makes a major impact at USD, credit the volleyball team and the marketing department with an assist for creating a raucous JCP crowd that helped land Harris for the basketball team.

A Texas product hailing from San Antonio, Harris has been described as “a little under the radar” by Toreros Head Coach Bill Grier. But that suits Grier and the Toreros just fine. With the prospect of having to replace stars Christopher Anderson and Johnny Dee after this season, Grier will gladly take on another small but dangerous under the radar guard like Harris to try and make him one of the next great guards to lead this USD squad.

 

At MacArthur High School

Harris spent his high school career at MacArthur High School in San Antonio, Texas. He was one of the most dangerous scorers in the city and entire state both his junior and senior seasons.

During his junior season, Harris averaged 21.1 points and 4.2 assists per game and led his team to a 21-12 record as he was named to the First Team All-District and All-Region Teams. Harris was ranked the #30 Senior prospect in Texas for the class of 2014 at the time.

His senior season was even better as he led all of San Antonio in scoring at 25.2 points per game. He led MacArthur to a 23-11 record and the Bi-District Championship. Harris was again named First Team All-District and All-Region as well as being named All-State by Texas Basketball Magazine.

Harris had a number of offers from local Texas schools as well as one from Loyola Marymount in the WCC.

 

Impact at San Diego

Marcus Harris is a Christopher Anderson clone, plain and simple. It will be no secret that he will spend the season preparing to take over the role of slashing scorer and facilitator once Anderson completes his senior season. Grier was clearly thinking about life after Anderson with this signing.

Like Anderson, Harris is a small but aggressive guard who can get to the basket and score a lot of points that way. He likely developed this skill due to his size, the same way Anderson did. Both players were forced to find creative ways to make shots due to being outsized by larger opponents, and Harris will certainly face this problem in the WCC the same way Anderson has.

The main issue will be if Harris can adjust better to the college game and facing large and intimidating opponents down low. Anderson has shown flashes of scoring brilliance and can still create shots, but he has become more of a facilitator providing assists to fellow guard Johnny Dee and larger players down in the post. Harris can get assists, but for the Toreros to take the next step Harris needs to keep his scoring numbers high as well. That was something Anderson just has not been able to do consistently, likely because of being outmatched in size almost every game. Harris does have a few inches on Anderson, so hopefully he can be an even better scorer than Anderson has been. Like Anderson, Harris needs to improve his outside shooting and rely less on trying to drive to the hoop against bigger competition.

But at worst, Harris projects to be similar to Anderson and will provide plenty of points and assists to pace the USD offense. His first task even before becoming a dangerous scoring threat will be to learn to create opportunities and be as effective providing assists as Anderson has been. When the shots aren’t coming easily as often happens for small guards in the WCC, Harris needs to go the way of Anderson and learn to rely on his teammates and create opportunities for them.

In the 2014-15 season, Harris will have to battle for minutes as the Toreros boast a number of quality guards. The regular rotation should be set with starters Chris Anderson and Johnny Dee backed by Duda Sanadze and Chris Sarbaugh who both had major impacts as rotation players and part-time starters last season. Nick Kerr emerged late as a dangerous shooter, but from there it should be a battle for playing time between three freshman guards: Harris, Khalil Bedart-Ghani, and Vasa Pusica. Harris is far and away the best scorer of the three, so entering camp he could be the favorite to see time early. However with so many talented guards on the roster, if Harris does not impress and needs more development time we could have to wait until 2015-16 to see much of him on the court.

Tags: Basketball San Diego Toreros West Coast Conference

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