Able to 'gel' with the program, Harris continues to thrive

It all started in the ninth grade when Jamell Harris decided to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Justin, whom he adored.

Harris remembers watching Justin play basketball and took the sport up himself in his first year at Euclid High School.

“Growing up I always watched my brother play basketball,” he said. “I always wanted to be like my big brother so
I started playing basketball.”

Harris is now in his junior season as a center for Eastern Michigan University and has made a name for himself as a shot-blocker. All these years later, he still loves the game for everything it has to offer.

“Everything,” Harris said when asked about his favorite thing about basketball. “I love to compete and winning, most of all.”

This season, Harris is averaging 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 4.5 points. He is shooting 34.9 percent from the field while going 61.5 percent from the free-throw line. He recorded a season-high 10 points and six rebounds on
Nov. 18 when the Eagles hosted Arkansas-Little Rock.

Harris is a product of Euclid, Ohio, where he played high school basketball for Coach Andy Suttle. He earned three letters in his time at Euclid H.S. and in his senior season, Harris averaged 14.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 5.6 blocks.

He was named to the third-team All-Northeast Ohio District, first-team All-News Herald and earned a first-team All-Lake Erie League selection. During the summer after graduation, he played for the King James Shooting Stars AAU team.

The atmosphere of EMU’s campus as well as connections with coaches at EMU played into Harris’ decision to further his education and basketball career in Ypsilanti.

“I came to EMU because I liked the college,” Harris said. “Also, the [assistant] coaches who were here before had a relationship with my high school coach, and he thought it would be a good fit for me to come here, and I could really gel and fit in well with the program.”

In his time at EMU, Harris has been working on a number of things to improve his game and ultimately make his team better. One of those things is establishing a low post move he is comfortable with and can use consistently.

“Overall, my low-post game and having a go-to move,” Harris said when asked what has been his greatest improvement since coming to EMU. “I really developed that the last couple of years, and I’ve developed a mid-range jump shot.”

In his freshman season as an Eagle, he averaged 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 points after having played in 31 of the team’s contests and making two starts.

He was ranked second on the team and 15th in the Mid-American Conference for blocked shots with 22 on the season. His efforts earned him the Harold Simons Most Valuable Player Award at the end of the season.

His sophomore season he had 21 starts and 31 games played. He also had his first double-double on Nov. 17 against Madonna when he recorded 15 points and 13 rebounds. Harris led the team in blocked shots with 72, also good for second in the MAC and 29th in the NCAA. His 72 blocks is the fourth-best single-season effort in program history.

Harris is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communications, and upon graduation he plans to continue with a professional career in basketball or pursue a job in the electronic media field.

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