Report: Exit Football Drake Harris, Hello Hoops Drake Harris Comment Count

Ace September 18th, 2017 at 2:26 PM

[Left: Patrick Barron; Right: MLive]

Michigan wide receiver Drake Harris may soon become Michigan guard Drake Harris, and this has nothing to do with a massive weight gain. A Scout user spotted Harris posting clips playing basketball on his Snapchat a few days ago, and now The Wolverine's Chris Balas is reporting that Harris plans to suit up for John Beilein:

We've heard Michigan redshirt junior wide receiver Drake Harris will be pursuing basketball now ... yes, at Michigan. Head coach John Beilein will take him in a heartbeat if the football coaches approve (we've heard Harris met with the coach yesterday), and we believe they will (and probably already have).

As a recruit at Grand Rapids Christian, Harris initially committed to Michigan State as a two-sport athlete. Basketball, in fact, was his primary focus until his spectacular junior football season, and the recruiting services regarded him as a composite top-100 basketball recruit before he chose the gridiron—at one point Rivals had him ranked as high as #46 overall in the 2014 class. He earned first-team all-state honors on the hardwood as both a sophomore and junior; he didn't play his senior season because he enrolled early at Michigan. ESPN liked his potential when the evaluated him as a junior despite being the low outlier among his basketball rankings:

Drake is smooth scoring wing who is a solid shooter out to 20 feet. He can score from all over the floor: long range, mid-range and he can get to the rim. He has real good size for a 2 guard at his age. Pretty good defender.

Drake needs more consistency with his effort. He can disappear at times.

Bottom Line:
Drake is a real up and coming talent in the 2014 class. Drake is a solid athlete and has plenty of upside. When he is assertive he is one of he better scorers in the class. It'll be interesting to see how he progresses.

He certainly asserted himself for most of his junior season, averaged 24.2 points per game and leading Grand Rapids Christian to the Class A state semifinals, where he went out with a bang.

Harris would have two seasons of eligibility remaining on the hardwood; since he began the year with the football program, his scholarship would still count against football for this year, though basketball has an open slot anyway.

While it's obviously difficult to project how a player will fare in a sport he hasn't played competitively for four years, Harris may be able to provide some depth at guard. At 6'4", 188, he's got good size, and we know he doesn't lack athleticism. In addition to providing scoring punch, he was a good passer in high school, to the point that his coach wanted him to be more selfish:

The strength of Harris' game is his ability to attack the basket off the dribble and score or find teammates for high-percentage shots.

"Defenders can't stay in front of him," Majerle said. "That is what gives him so much potential as a point guard. He has good ball skills and he is a great athlete. I also think that he has a great natural feel for the game which is what you want to see from a point guard. He is a good teammate and an unselfish basketball player. Sometimes he is unselfish to a fault."

While he wasn't known as a shooter, he could pour it on at times, and his form looks decent (albeit a bit slow on the release) on film; he also displays good court vision and some flashy passing ability.

Whether Harris plays both sports or moves full-time to baskeball, this shouldn't have a major impact on the football team. He only had eight career receptions before moving this fall to cornerback, where he hasn't seen significant playing time. He'll have to shake off some rust on the hardwood, but at the very least he's an interesting athlete to have at the end of the bench.


Flying Dutchman

September 18th, 2017 at 2:32 PM ^

In a way I am surprised this didn't happen sooner.    Incredibly smooth on the hardwood.  Not great on the fundamentals, but he will likely show up as a better overall athlete than a lot of the guys he will face.   He could contribute immediately.  


September 18th, 2017 at 4:26 PM ^

will need to re-learn the basketball fundamentals but that's probably perfect for JB because he has everybody to work on the basic fundamentals on the first day of practice so hopefully he has forgotten bad habits that he formed at GR Christian and AAU circuit.

Also, he would need to know how to play in JB's offense because it's considered to be the toughest offense for the players to master because it's all about reading and reacting.

If nothing else, his athleticism should show up on the defensive side.


September 18th, 2017 at 2:47 PM ^

basketball - then Harbaugh could add two-sport opportunities in addition to the multi-position opportunities (a la Peppers).

Still, nice win for Drake and UM if it works out on the hardwood - and I bet JH is fine with it.


September 18th, 2017 at 2:56 PM ^

I suspect Beilien was pushing him a little, if Seth is right and he's an immediate take without question for the bball team.  I've no doubt he's been playing bball during college, and probably with bball team members.  I have a dollar that says Beilien spit his sandwich out when he heard Drake was moving to defense and couldn't pick the phone up quick enough!

Mr. Yost

September 18th, 2017 at 3:05 PM ^

Yesterday I was hoping he'd move back to WR with Black out. But this is awesome, I wish the kid all the best.

Hopefully he sticks with football and gives us some WR depth and experience this year and moves to basketball after we stomp the Buckeyes at home.


September 18th, 2017 at 3:52 PM ^

Fully expected to read that he's moving back to WR to provide depth after the Black injury.

This is pretty shocking.  Very unlikely he contributes beyond the scout team for bball after not playing competitively for so long.  Hope I'm wrong about that though. If he could back up MAAR for 10 minutes a game, that would be nice, but my guess is that it'll be hard to beat out Poole for that role.

Boner Stabone

September 18th, 2017 at 3:08 PM ^

I talked to Drake's grandpa a year and a half ago and he said he wanted to play basketball.  TIming was probably not right back then, but it sounds like it is a go now.  Good luck Drake!


September 18th, 2017 at 3:21 PM ^

This could help the basketball team if Harris is kind of a depth guy, or it could be an on-steroids version of the heuristic that says position switches are bad if the position switcher jumps right into the starting lineup.

True Blue Grit

September 18th, 2017 at 3:24 PM ^

on basketball and just drop football.  As a DB, his chances of seeing the field aren't very good, whereas he can definitely get some PT on the bball team.  The best of luck to him.  

L'Carpetron Do…

September 18th, 2017 at 3:24 PM ^

I love this!  I would love to see him do both!  But I love that Michigan hoops will have him - its nice to have that kind of talent just sitting around campus.  Top 100 recruit?  Hell yeah !  Sign him up!  ( i do have to say I was excited for his WR career but is a little disappointed it hasn't panned out)


September 18th, 2017 at 3:35 PM ^

I went to his former high school so had the pleasure of seeing many of his high school games.  I am biased, but I thought he would succeed at the collegiate level because:

1) He didn't just torch weak competition but I saw him torch d1 CB's including nationally ranked Cincinatti Moeller and also in the State Finals verses Orchard Lake St Marys

2)  As much as he could be labeled "soft", I saw him take some very hard hits that season, included in the state finals, and he got back up fine.

...Would've liked to maybe see him get another opportunity at WR with Black out but that's wishful thinking


September 18th, 2017 at 4:55 PM ^

I thought the narrative on his two-sport HS career went something like:

- thought to be a high level hoops prospect early on

- turned out to be more of a mid level hoops prospect

- came on strong in football (Lemming called him #1 WR in the country) and he and his family concluded that was where his highest upside was, so gave up hoops for football


So now after football didn't click for him, basketball will?  I really hope it turns out that way, but it doesn't strike me as very likely.