Q&A with Joe Harris
Freshman guard Joe Harris (Chelan, Wash.) plays his first regular-season game for the Virginia men’s basketball team on Friday (Nov. 12) when the Cavaliers host William & Mary at John Paul Jones Arena. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Harris was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Washington in 2010 by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association and selected the 2010 Gatorade Washington Boys Basketball Player of the Year. He scored 10 points, had five rebounds and three assists without a turnover in Virginia’s 82-50 victory over Roanoke College in an exhibition game on Nov. 6. VirginiaSports.com had an opportunity to sit down with Harris to talk about the start of his first season with the Cavaliers and his first few months at UVa.
Question: Your first regular season college basketball game is on Friday (Nov. 12) when Virginia opens its 2010-11 season at John Paul Jones Arena against William & Mary. What are your thoughts and feelings as you approach this game?
Harris: I want to have a good week of practice, stay focused and listen to all the coaching staff has to say in preparing for William & Mary. There is definitely a lot of excitement because this is our first game, there should be a good crowd and we are playing a good opponent in William & Mary. It should be fun.
Question: What has been the toughest part of the transition from high school to college basketball for you?
Harris: I think the toughest part of the transition for me has been time management. I never woke up at 5:45 in the morning to lift weights at six o’clock and then go to class. After class there is study hall and then practice. After practice you have tutors or writing appointments. Your entire day is consumed, but that’s a good thing because you are always busy and the days just fly by. The biggest transition for me is just managing my time.
Question: What went into your decision to come across the country and attend the University of Virginia?
Harris: Coach Bennett recruited me when he was at Washington State and I had a good relationship with him. When he left I stayed in contact with him. It was basically Coach Bennett and the rest of the coaching staff. This is a great school with a beautiful campus and great facilities. It seemed like a good fit and I’ve loved it.
Question: What can you say about the stretch against Roanoke College in the exhibition game where you really got it going shooting the basketball?
Harris: My teammates were getting me open shots and if I have an open shot I’ll take it. My teammates were getting open looks for me and making great passes.”
Question: There is a large group of freshmen on the team. Are you a pretty close group? Do you hang together off the court?
Harris: Yes, we are a real close group. We all came in here together in the summer. When we first got here it was just us in the dorm. We had the dorm to ourselves and basically it felt like we had the campus to ourselves. We spent basically every waking second of every day together. Now we have our own schedules, but we’re rooming together in the dorm. We’ve developed a good bond and chemistry among the freshmen.
Question: Your father is a coach and he coached you. You grew up around the game. Has that been a key for you in getting to this point in your basketball career?
Harris: I definitely think so. I was always with my dad in the gym since I was four years old. I just tagged along. I had nothing better to do so I just went with him wherever he went. I was the manager on the team, shooting on the side and playing one-on-one with the other managers. I think it was great for me. I developed a love for the game watching all of the other guys grow up playing basketball. I think that really helped me a lot. Being in the gym basically made me love everything about basketball.
Question: How have your first few months been at Virginia away from basketball?
Harris: School is tough here. Professors don’t treat you differently if you’re a student-athlete. They are pushing you the same as everyone else and that’s good. That’s what we need. I am taking some first-year required courses and for the most part I’m enjoying all my classes. I’ve got some really cool professors I like a lot.
Outside of school I spend a lot of time in the dorm or on the Corner or at the older guys apartments. We don’t really get outside of Charlottesville a lot.