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Gateway grad Harris ready to take next step

| Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, 8:57 p.m.
Erica Hilliard, staff photograph
Gateway graduate Barnett Harris, seen here battling a Butler defender during a WPIAL Quad-A playoff game on Feb. 29, 2012, is expected to sign with the University of Delaware during the NCAA Division I basketball early-signing period, which runs from Nov. 14 to 21, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Tribune-Review

After a couple of years of searching for the right collegiate fit for both academics and basketball, Gateway 2012 graduate Barnett Harris decided last week to continue his journey next year at the University of Delaware.

Harris gave a verbal commitment to the Blue Hens, and he plans to make it final during the NCAA Division I basketball's early-signing period, which runs from Nov. 14 to 21.

His father, also named Barnett Harris, said his son, who is spending the 2012-13 academic year at Fishburne Military Academy in Virginia, will take part in a special signing ceremony where all of the Division I basketball recruits at the school sign at the same time.

He didn't give a specific date for that ceremony.

“It was a process for Barnett,” the father said.

“You have to fit the school, and the school has to fit you. Barnett is the type of players who doesn't fit a particular position. For a lot of other colleges that recruited Barnett, they passed, or we passed. There was some frustration, but Barnett understood the process. He was pretty patient.”

The younger Harris visited the Delaware campus the weekend of Oct. 20, and he said he was impressed with the academic opportunities and the way head coach Monte Ross and his staff were strict on making sure the players were prepared for the future.

“It's just a great atmosphere,” he said. “It feels like a home away from home. I talked with my family and realized it was the place for me.”

Harris was recruited by Division I programs from mid-major conferences to schools in bigger conferences such as the Big East and Mid-American Conference.

“(Coach Ross) said he wants to develop Barnett as a player and not to a specific position,” the elder Harris said.

“We'll see how things go from there. (Coach Ross) talked a lot about education and Barnett's future if basketball is not in the picture. We were pleased with that.”

Harris, a 6-foot-10 center/forward, was a top contributor at both ends of the court for Gateway for four seasons. His rebounding, blocks, passes and points helped the Gators reach the WPIAL Quad-A title game his final three seasons and capture the WPIAL title his junior and seniors campaigns.

Gateway beat Pittsburgh Central Catholic, 49-39, for the WPIAL crown in March, and Harris scored 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in that win.

As a senior, Harris averaged 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game.

Harris joins fellow 2012 graduate and Gators hoops teammate Tyler Scott on an NCAA Division I roster.

As a partial qualifier, Scott is taking an academic redshirt as a freshman this season at Kent State and then will have four season of eligibility remaining at the Mid-American Conference school.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at

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