2015 Point Guard A.J. Harris Commits to Ohio State

By Mike Young on August 12, 2013 at 10:46p
44 Comments
A.J. Harris committed to play basketball for Ohio State on his unofficial visit Monday.

Class of 2015 point guard A.J. Harris committed to Ohio State after an unofficial visit to the school, becoming the first member of Thad Matta's 2015 class.

"At the end of my visit (today) they offered me and I was so shocked, because I didn't think they would offer me this early," Harris told Eleven Warriors, following his commitment. "It's so amazing."

Ohio State assistant coach Jeff Boals was understandably cryptically excited.

Coming into the day, Harris – from Dayton powerhouse Dunbar High School – was merely hoping to receive an offer from the Buckeyes. Michigan also showed interest, although they didn't extend a scholarship offer. His visit to Columbus set the Buckeyes apart, in a field which included several Midwest schools.

The AJ Harris File

  • Size: 5-9/160
  • Pos: PG
  • School: Dunbar High School (Dayton, Ohio)
  • Composite Rating: N/A
  • Composite Rank: NA
  • Scout Rank: 3-star
  • ESPN Rank: 4-star

The 5-foot-9-inch, 160 pound guard committed to the Buckeyes on the spot. An AAU teammate of five-star recruits Luke Kennard and V.J. King, Harris aims to be the spark plug in this recruiting class – just like he is on the basketball court. He led Dunbar to an undefeated season and state championship as a freshman. 

Heading into his junior season, Harris will be one of the most highly regarded prospects in the Buckeye state and a pivotal player down the line for the Buckeyes. They will attempt to replace Aaron Craft following the 2013 season. Same goes for Shannon Scott after 2014.

Combo guard and 2014 commit D'Angelo Russell would, theoretically, be the only capable point guard on the roster when Harris arrives on campus. So, depth at the position was a concern. Getting a chance to fill that void was a pleasant surprise for Harris and Ohio State's needs in the back court certainly played a role in securing the pledge of the star guard.

"They don't have a point guard, and told me I was the only point guard they were looking at," he said. "They made me feel like it was my own home, and I know that Coach Matta has plans for me."

Now that he's the de facto leader of the 2015 class, Harris wants to clear up why he made the choice tonight, especially when he'd recently been vocal about wanting to hear from the Wolverines.

"It's true, I did want to hear from Michigan," he added. "But Ohio State was the better opportunity, they made me feel the most comfortable and it's only an hour away from home."

Harris will come in to fill the void. Here's some highlights of the shifty guard:

Scarberry Media's Zach Fleer thinks highly of Harris' leadership ability.

"[Harris is] the ultimate lead point guard. He said himself that he likes to get assists more than he likes to score, so that should tell you a lot about his play style," Fleer told Eleven Warriors. "[He is] lightning quick, decent jump shooter, and runs the break well. If he grows one or two more inches, he will be more than ready for B1G ball."

Fleer also conducted an interview with Harris in July and it's worth a listen.

Jordan Wagner and Jeremy Birmingham contributed to this story.

[Photo and video courtesy of 3rd Coast Hoops.]

44 Comments

Comments

Jordan Wagner's picture

A few notes: 

*Amos "AJ" Harris plays for the same AAU team as Luke Kennard. They are reportedly good friends. This could only help our chances with Kennard, who holds offers from schools such as Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan and others. 

*Spoke to someone who said Harris is a legit 5'9. 

* Harris held offers from Akron, Boston College, Dayton, Illinois St, Toledo and Xavier before picking up an Ohio State offer. 

 

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Welcome AJ!
What is a legit 5'-9"?
And I will pay good $$$ to the person that can convince him to play in old school rec-specs.

Jordan Wagner's picture

Many were saying he was generously listed at 5'9.

awlinBrutus's picture

only problem in college basketball is it has become a perimeter game requiring length on the perimeter. @ 5' 9" he is going to be a liability on perimeter defense. i'm shocked matta signed him.

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

BKLYN_Buckeye's picture

Nice. Welcome to the fam. 

Urban Nation Army's picture

5'8" 145 lbs. from Dunbar in Dayton

Bet you can't say "Bert Bielma is a bumbling buffoon" five times fast.

buck-I.8's picture

If he's 5'9'' heading into his junior year, I'd think he has room to grow another inch or two.

chowoon97's picture

He is very quick.He loves to distribute balls, and he can shoot.
God please gives him another two inches...
How cannot we trust Thad and his staff?
 

rdubs's picture

Is he as good as Drew Lavender?  I have never seen (and certainly never played with) anyone quicker than Drew and at that size he will need some quicks.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Harris is a nice looking lefty player, very smooth and has some quicks to the basket.  Really distributes the ball well (gee, he should be a point guard LOL).  His jump shot looks like he pushes the ball from his chest a tad, although it is very clean and consistent, when he gets stronger I'm sure he'll get a better extension with his shooting hand (the "wave goodbye" all the players with a good J have).  Great to have a TRUE point guard like that commit to OSU, they, like a true center, are a rare breed.  He seems pretty articulate and has a great attitude, a mature young man, knock on wood.  Odd he seemed to really want to play for TTUN but committed to the buckeyes, the first sign I guess that he is a good decision maker.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Knarcisi's picture

Gray box surprise. Nice!

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

Welcome to Buckeye Nation, AJ Harris!

Knarcisi's picture

Mike Conley part II 

BierStube's picture

Jordan,
Not that it matters much now, but did AJ have an offer from TSUN?  If not, why did most folks have him leaning that way?

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

Jordan Wagner's picture

He did not have a Michigan offer. He said himself that Michigan was his favorite and he wanted to be the next Trey Burke. 

rdubs's picture

Could they be a threat then if they decide to offer?  Or too early in his commitment to tell?

Jordan Wagner's picture

With Harris committing this early and on the spot, I think he is a solid commitment. 

BME_Buckeye's picture

Lol at the kid @ 0:15 
Talk about ankle breaking crossovers. Welcome to Buckeye Nation.

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.

 

thatlillefty's picture

Kid is crazy quick, can drive to to the hoop, and distributes well. Just hope he can be a lockdown defender as well. I'm from Cincy but i'm not familiar with Dunbar. What division are they?

BME_Buckeye's picture

Dunbar is Division 2

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.

 

Urban Nation Army's picture

they were nationally ranked in the top 25 at some point last year IIRC
Produced Norris Cole and Daequan Cook

Bet you can't say "Bert Bielma is a bumbling buffoon" five times fast.

pjtobin's picture

I'm just beginning to follow bball recruiting. Is it a normal thing to recruit a kid that is only 5'9"? He is a beast IMO even if he isn't as tall as I tought most players are. Welcome to Buckeye country. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

hit_the_couch's picture

He is going into his junior year. Scoonie Penn played at 5'10" or so and he was a stud.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

Iwearmocs's picture

So, we're hoping he grows 2 more inches yeah? Haha welcome to Ohio State!

buck-I.8's picture

We all hope for a few more inches

Anononym's picture

It's not tall, but it's not short either - it's average. Check your almanac.

 

German Buckeye's picture

+1 for all us average 5'9 individuals!

Knarcisi's picture

Yes. All 5'9" of me here. he's just a shade quicker than me. 

hit_the_couch's picture

Hopefully he grows another 3 inches in the next 2 years.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

Mike Young's picture
BSTP DeCon's picture

Welcome to the Good Guys, A.J.! Hope you continue to hit beat mode once you don the S&G!!

zbd's picture

If he can help bring in Kennard and King, he will be worth the scholarship.  Reminds me of Conley and only a Junior too.

throttlefinger's picture

Love the handle and instincts on this kid. Plus, great stroke. Sure it will become stronger with practice.
Welcome aboard, A.J.!

Mizzillion's picture

He looks like a good floor general with a great handle. I wish the vid had some footage of his defensive skills.  Has anyone seen this young man play?  If so, how would you rate him on the defensive end on a scale of 1 to 10?  

TheShookster's picture

This kid looks pretty good, even if he doesn't grow a couple inches I'm sure Thad knows what he's doing.
When is OSU going to be known as Lefty U? 

House804's picture

I think everyone wants a 6'4" PG with handles who can distribute.  Not many of those guys exist.  Look at Ty Lawson:  5'11" at best.  Peyton Siva:  6' maybe.  Advantage?  They were faster with the ball in their hands than everyone else was just running. Quickness and vision can make up for a lot.  I thought his tape was better than all these 6'9" athletic wings who can't shoot or pass but can jump out of the gym and project as a good defender; and are automatic 4-stars.  Defense is about being smart and tough more than long and athletic.  Its a fact.
 
EDIT:  You could say Louisville's backcourt in general was undersized (Russ Smith maybe 6'2") and their perimeter defense was completely devastating.

We talkin' bout practice?!  Not the game I love...the game I die for.  Practice?!

O-H-I-Owe-U's picture

Welcome AJ! 2015 class is off and running.

gobucks96's picture

Awesome, congrats to the kid on his decision. Guess this is the nail in the coffin for Tyus (as if...)?

Kindell's picture

Nice pick up.  He is a great ball handler and I love his shooting form, very fluid.  He does a great job of using his strength to overcome his height when he attacks the basket.  I think he should really begin to work on using his right hand more in the lane because that will also help with being shorter.  I think this is the perfect type of point guard for us.  Thad Matta is going to recruit good players and scorers on the wing.  He is going to have plenty of talent around him to distribute the basketball to.  The big thing he looks like he could bring is an outside shooting threat from the point guard position and this is something we haven't had.
I am not too worried about his height right now.  He could still grow but I think where his height is going to be a factor is on the defensive end.  Matta is a very good defensive coach, and I think he will be able to help Harris on that end.

Nutty's picture

He definitely has some handles and good vision but I agree with you about his height being a factor on the defensive end. If he can use his quick hands to aggravate ball handlers that will help but taller players will have an advantage looking/throwing over him. Not much you can do about that except hope his teammates have his back. I'm surprised Thad offered him this early but I trust his judgment.

FROMTHE18's picture

Rec-Specs....excellent.

zhamilton05's picture

This is thinking too far ahead, even for me, but...
Russell as a SO in 2015 should be really coming into his own, probably as PG, but I like that Harris can come off the bench as a FR that year and let Russell slide off the ball. Kam Williams will be a JR that year and hopefully his shooting stroke will be at its peak, maybe as a scorer off the bench. Yes that's a small backcourt, but Tate is a 2/3 who will provide athleticism and defensive energy on the perimeter.
So, to recap, at this point the Buckeyes would have a 5'9" creator (who will probably grow a bit), a 6'-3" smooth scorer--creator, a 6'-2" shooter, and a 6'-5" defensive menace. Good balance, don't you think?

IBleedSandG's picture

Kid definitely has some quicks and he appears to have a really nice handle. It would be nice if he could grow an inch or two, though.
 

We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, we're from O-HI-O!