Hempfield grad Kason Harrell honing his game in hopes of playing professionally | TribLIVE.com
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Hempfield grad Kason Harrell honing his game in hopes of playing professionally

Bill Beckner
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Hempfield grad Kason Harrell is working out, hoping to play basketball at the professional level.
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Hempfield grad Kason Harrell is a basketball player at Purdue Fort Wayne.

Kason Harrell is hungry and focused, primed to extend his basketball career past the collegiate level.

Preparation sits hard on his shoulders as he edges closer to a potential shot in the pros.

Harrell hired an agent from the GoEmpire Group and has hopes of playing overseas, but in the meantime, he is training like never before for when the life-changing call comes.

“I’m just waiting and working out, trying to stay ready,” said Harrell, a Hempfield and Purdue Fort Wayne graduate.

Harrell connected with Gym Rat Performance Training, based out of Amerifit Gym in Green Tree, with additional workouts at Rochester High School. He has been working with Andrew Kurzawski and other instructors with Gym Rat to keep his game sharp.

Since he is on the doorstep of pro basketball and an advanced player, Harrell doesn’t have much to learn, per se. And while he continues to absorb knowledge and take advantage of practice time just the same, he is specializing on specific areas of his game.

Proficient shooters never settle.

“I want to work on creating my own shot a lot more,” he said. “In college, I really depended on others to get me my shots, especially my freshman through junior years. As a senior, I was able to create my own shot a little more, but I want to get even better. I also want to improve my ball handling and my agility.”

Harrell, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound point guard who is Hempfield’s all-time leading scorer, averaged a career-best 15.1 points and made 49.5 percent of his shots last season for the Mastodons. He added 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists a game.

“Kason is a deadly shooter,” said Kurzawski, a Point Park women’s basketball assistant who coaches another former Hempfield standout, Michelle Burns. “This offseason he has committed to adding more speed and explosion to his game. He’s able to finish at the rim with authority which is very impressive for a 6-2 guard.”

Harrell never has been accused of lacking attention to detail, something Kurzawski picked up on immediately.

“I don’t have any doubts he will be a great pro because he’s a perfectionist,” Kurzawski said. “When we work out, we count makes — not total shots — and we don’t move on to the next drill until we hit the make mark, which is usually in the 20s per drill.

“He’s also a relentless worker and a true gym rat. He has driven to Rochester and Carnegie multiple times to get workouts in. Wherever he can get better, that’s where he goes, and he has a clear-cut vision of what he wants to be at the pro level.”

Harrell’s confidence got a shot in the arm when friend and former Fort Wayne backcourt teammate John Konchar signed a free-agent deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.

“I’m so proud of John,” Harrell said. “His work ethic and focus is paying off, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the NBA. I’m very motivated, and seeing what he did just pushes me even more.”

What is perhaps most impressive about Harrell’s steady climb is he was not heavily recruited in high school, saw limited minutes as a college freshman, but ascended to a starter — and often a go-to scorer — in his last three seasons at Fort Wayne.

“I get the sense that Kason has had to work and grind for everything as a player,” Kurzawski said, “and he’s more inspired than ever to not only make it to the pro ranks but also have a nice long career playing the game he loves.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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