Each year, Phenom Hoops is witness to all types of unforeseen circumstances, whether it comes in the form of player transfers, high school powerhouses emerging, or surprises within recruitment. Right now, all three are happening. There are constant rumors swirling about player movement and reclassifications, but not enough discussions centered on the underrated, deserving prospects that aren’t receiving enough attention. Surely everyone can identify players who already hold multiple high-major offers, so what is the point in continually pushing the narrative for those prospects? Instead, the focus should be placed on guys like Toby Harris, who is genuinely just fighting to prove his worth. After showcasing a Division I identity and skillset for long enough, what is it going to take for Harris to get his due?
When MJ Rice went down with injury last season for Durham Academy, folks (and college coaches) seemed to forget how much talent still remained on the roster. Cole Sinclair, Brent Randleman, Nik Graves, and Harris carried the torch and only lost three games (including Montverde) after losing their superstar. While others seemed to get praised for posting up massive scoring totals in losing efforts at the John Wall Holiday Invitational, Harris received little to no recognition for his magnificent showing. Against Montverde, considered among the best high school teams of the last twenty years, Harris had 19 points (7-12 FG; 3-8 3PM) and 3 rebounds. The very next game came against Greenfield, where Harris finished with 20 points (7-12 FG; 3-6 3PM), 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks in a winning effort. It’s beyond head-scratching that he still struggles to be recruited after showing flashes of dominance at one of the biggest events across the high school landscape.
Fast-forward to this summer, and Harris has only continued on his current trajectory. There seem to be some misconceptions about his position since he stands at 6-foot-7 and possesses a wiry frame. Harris is not an undersized big man or a floor-spacing forward. He is a skilled, versatile, offensive machine with a phenomenal combination of IQ, shooting, and passing. Harris is a quality athlete and better than opponents think defensively—both at accumulating blocks and defending in space. Although he needs to continue adding strength, his overall toughness isn’t really in question. Harris can lead or adapt to a role and thrive in either situation, which is another reason that makes his recruitment so perplexing. The kid is flat-out better than numerous other players collecting Division I offers right now. Something has to change and whoever decides to actually take a chance will undoubtedly receive a diamond in the rough.