Bashir Mason has made his first big talent acquisition splash with the news that Valparaiso transfer Jay Harris has chosen to come to Wagner. Harris is a 6’1″ point guard that is looking for a bigger role than the one he played for the Horizon League regular season champion Crusaders last season. When he becomes eligible in the fall of 2013, he’ll certainly get the chance.
Harris should have no problem quickly becoming a star at Wagner. His commitment should give the Seahawks a loaded backcourt in 2013 along with Latif Rivers and Kenneth Ortiz. Harris can provide another spark for the offense. Even though he’s listed as a point guard, he’s a scorer. He has the ability to get into the lane and also knock down shots. During his sophomore season Harris shot 56.3% inside the arc, which is an impressive mark for any guard, let alone one that’s just 6’1″.
There are some things though that he can work on during his transfer season. Harris has a propensity for turnovers. His turnover rate was 21.0% last season. But he also did have an assist rate of 22.2%, so it’s not all bad. Still, improving his strength should help Harris hang onto the basketball as he drives into the paint. Also, it’d be good if Harris could work on his three-point shot. He shot 40-137 (29.2%) from three last season. He’ll have to be more accurate from distance for opponents to respect that part of the game and make it easier for him to drive into the lane. Considering he’s a career 90.6% free throw shooter on 96 attempts, it’s apparent he’s got the stroke to shoot better in the future.
The improvement is certainly possible. As Harris adjusted to Valparaiso and the Horizon League from Oswego East in Chicago, he progressed from his freshman to his sophomore season. His offensive rating rose from 90.4 to 100.0 and his turnovers dropped. Part of the rise in offensive rating was how much better Harris got at finishing around the rim. His two-point percentage skyrocketed from 32.7% to 56.3%.
If Harris didn’t get any better he’d be an excellent player for Wagner. With another year of development, he’s an absolute steal for Mason. Harris provides a building block for an important season for the Seahawks. As this core of Dan Hurley players reaches their final season they’ll get a big addition that could make 2013-14 a special season.