Some players are well-known when they first step foot on the court in a team’s uniform. Other players take time to mature before standing out. But then there’s a third type of player: one that needs only the opportunity to show people what he is made of.
That third type of player is what freshman guard Tre Harris has become for K-State. Suspensions to sophomore guard Marcus Foster and freshman forward Malek Harris gave way to Harris to showcase his talents on the big stage in Big 12 play.
In high school, Harris garnered two Illinois All-State Honorable Mention nods from the Associated Press. In his senior season, Harris averaged more than 17 points per game and connected on nearly 50 percent of his 3-point tries.
After high school, Harris decided to enroll in Waynesboro, Virginia’s Fishburne Military School’s post-graduate program to improve as a player.
In his lone season at the Virginia prep school, Harris led the team with 19 points per game. He signed with K-State midway through the season.
“On the court, he works hard, he’s talented, he just has a knack for making big shots becaue he really has a smart IQ,” Ed Huckaby Jr., Harris’ coach at Fishburne, said. “He hustles and does everything you ask for on the court. Off the court, he is a tremendous leader. He’s articulate and well spoken and you can tell that he’s a well-rounded, well-educated, man.”
At Fishburne, Huckaby claims that Harris already had the skills and talent that he is utilizing today in Big 12 play.
“Tre walked into the door a player; he didn’t walk into the door where he needed a lot of work, because he came in ready for the moment,” Huckaby said. “The next step for Tre is to continue to improve every day like all players need to do.”
In the four games this season where Harris has played over 20 minutes, he’s scored finished in double-digits three times. In those three games, the Edwardsville, Illinois product is 17 for 27 from 3-point range.
His long-range talents were on display against No. 25 Texas, a game in which Harris finished with 12 points on 4-6 shooting from deep.
“I was just doing what I do in practice, just playing hard, playing confident, and keeping my teammates confident in me,” Harris said. “I just took on my role and played a little bit harder and got some more minutes.”
At times during this recent stretch, Harris has looked unstoppable from behind the arc. More importantly, he’s looked comfortable.
“I am just thinking that I have to make shots, play smarter and play within myself and be more effective at the same time,” Harris said.
Since taking on a greater role, teams have started taking notice of Harris’ 3-point ability. The shots that were once seemingly wide open are now contested. Shots that were once going down are rimming out.
“Guys are keying in on me, just burning me off of the line, and everybody’s just trying to pressure me,” Harris said. “Being able to create off of the dribble and distributing to my teammates will definitely be the key to improving. I just need to remain confident and get stronger.”
While the season’s story has yet to be finished for K-State, Harris already knows what he has to do to improve his game and earn more playing time for his sophomore campaign.
“I need to keep working harder, try to expand my role in any way that I can, just keep building and becoming a better all around player,” Harris said. “I just need to try to contribute and try to gain a good step in the direction for the season next year. I’m just going to keep working.”
Harris’ former coach is confident that the improvement he saw in the guard at Fishburne can be replicated this offseason in Manhattan.
“Tre is talented, he has a big heart,” Huckaby said. “He lives for the big moment, he showed that here at Fishburne. You don’t see guys like Tre every day. You see a lot of top players who have egos, and that’s not Tre. He’s always been a leader and he knows how to inspire guys.”
While he is a star in the making for the Wildcats, one thing stands out about Harris, apart from playing time or 3-pointers: he is a humble person who understands the role others have played in his life.
“He told me thank you for everything when he left, and he didn’t have to do that,” Huckaby said. “He was very sincere and that meant a lot to me. He’s a heck of a young man and I would be proud to call him my own son.”
Huckaby has a bold prediction about his former player, and it’s not about his performance on the court:
“He’s going to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company one day.”