University of Tennessee at Martin head men’s basketball coach Heath Schroyer has announced the signing of James Harrison, a 6-5, 210-pound guard out of McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas. Harrison will have two years of eligibility remaining for the Skyhawks.
“We’re really excited to add James,” Schroyer said. “He’s a high-level player that does all the things on the perimeter that we value. I love his ability to stretch defenses and he has great size – he can defend multiple positions on the floor. He’s a great kid and a great student – he really fits the bill in every way of the type of young man we are building this program with.”
A Houston native, Harrison helped lead McLennan to a 23-8 record last season and a Region V tournament appearance under head coach Kevin Gill. Harrison was a second team All-North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference honoree after averaging 11.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in just 21.7 minutes per game. He was second on the team in scoring in conference play, pouring in 13.7 points per game.
On the season, Harrison shot 46.6 percent (122-for-262) from the floor while ranking second on the Highlanders with 52 three-pointers. He also sank a team-best 90.4 percent (47-of-52) of his attempts from the free throw line.
Harrison tallied a season-high 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting in 24 minutes against Temple College on Feb. 4. He connected on at least three 3-pointers in 10 games, racking up at least 15 points on nine different occasions.
Harrison spent his freshman season at the University of New Orleans, a Division-I school who competes in the Southland Conference. Playing for head coach Mark Slessinger, Harrison played in 23 games and logged two starts, averaging 4.7 points in 12.0 minutes per game. He shot an even 50 percent from the floor (38-for-76), including a 44.4 percent clip (24-for-54) from three-point range.
Harrison concluded his freshman campaign by making at least one 3-pointer in the last 11 games of the season. He cracked double-figures in the scoring column in three different games, including a team-best 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting at Lamar on March 6, 2014.
At the prep level, Harrison was a standout at Westfield High School under head coach Van Price. He averaged 15 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game as a senior, earning all-region, all-district and district co-MVP accolades with teammate Wesley Iwundu, who is currently playing at Kansas State. The Mustangs finished the 2012-13 campaign with a 31-7 overall record (including an unblemished 16-0 mark in District 13-5A) while advancing to the regional semifinals.
Harrison was tabbed as the No. 26 senior in the Houston area while RCSSports.com ranked him as the 70th best prospect in Texas. His successful senior campaign followed a junior season where he compiled 15 points and four rebounds per contest while also earning first team all-district honors for a WHS squad that finished 26-11 overall.
“When I came to visit UT Martin, I felt like I was brought in as a family member as soon as I stepped on campus,” Harrison said. “Coach Schroyer is a great man and a great coach and I will love playing for him for the final two years of my collegiate career. I’m looking forward to being a part of the family-based atmosphere with this team.”
Harrison is the second player to sign with the Skyhawks in the past week, joining sophomore guard Malik Pugh (Dyersburg, Tenn./UNC Wilmington). UT Martin returns nine players from last season’s team who finished with 21 wins – one shy of the school record – and notched the first three postseason victories in the school’s Division-I history.