Articles

Elias Harris

SF Gonzaga 6’7” 220 lbs 7/6/89

 

Offense

 

A senior at Gonzaga, Elias Harris has thrived offensively in Mark Few’s system in all four years of his career at Spokane. Harris averaged 12+ points each year, a testament to his versatility and ability to score from multiple spots on the floor. Harris projects as a small forward or a stretch 4 at the next level that will get most of his points in the paint. Harris has an extremely high basketball IQ in the post, displaying an elite understanding of body positioning and spacing to create easy looks under the basket. He is always in the right place to get a good post touch or a pass on a drive by a teammate. He does an excellent job of establishing his position in the post early on and getting the ball in good scoring position. Harris has a long, wide, NBA-ready body, and uses it very well on the offensive end. He does not shy away from contact, and is excellent at absorbing a hit from a defender and getting to the free throw line. Harris is such a lethal finisher in the paint because, while absorbing contact, he also has excellent balance and body control, and also has the ability to finish with either hand. Harris is also a threat in transition, possessing the ability to rebound and lead the break on his own. He is a very good passer for his size, and can get to the hoop and finish on the break. As a perimeter threat on the offensive end, Harris can beat his man off the dribble with a hesitation move, or by lowering his shoulder to create space between his defender and then elevate to finish. Harris gets most of his offense from in the restricted area, either by sealing his man for a good post touch or by absorbing contact on a drive to get to the rim.

 

Where Harris must improve on the offensive end is in his perimeter skills and ability to score from outside the paint. For a player undersized to play the 4, and lacking elite athleticism, Harris does not have very good shooting range. After shooting a very solid 40.6% from beyond the arc in his first three seasons, he is inexplicably shooting 17% from three this season, and has lost all confidence in his jumper. Harris passes up open looks from 16 feet and beyond, and must re-establish his confidence to contribute in the NBA. Considering how decorated his college career has bee, the question is what position does he score from at the next level? Harris scores in the paint, but is not a true post scorer with an arsenal of back-to-the-basket moves. He struggles to consistently create his own shot off the dribble because he does not have great first step quickness. Harris has lost any semblance of a midrange game this year, and has to diversify his scoring output to prove he can score in the pros from outside the key. There is no guarantee that against much stronger competition than the WCC, he will continue to get easy looks at the rim and continue to make his way to the foul line. Unless Harris improves his perimeter skills and adds a midrange jumper, scouts will continue to ask what his offensive ceiling is in the NBA.

 

 

 

Defense

 

Harris has always been a very good rebounder at the Division I level, a skill that should translate to the next level. He is a very good one-on-one rebounder who boxes out and can drive his man out of the lane when the shot goes up. He is not a great leaper but has very good instincts and strong hands. Harris is committed on the glass, and uses his frame well to absorb contact in the same way that he does on the offensive end. Because of his height, size, and long frame, Harris projects as a defender that can guard multiple positions if he includes his quickness. He has the potential to already guard NBA 4s because he plays with very good physicality and has a lot of experience guarding in the post. With his rebounding ability, physicality, and skill in leading the break, Harris projects as a post defender that can guard stretch 4s and thrive in an up-tempo setting.

 

The main trait holding Harris back on the defensive end is his lack of lateral quickness. He currently does not display the speed necessary to guard the NBA wings and athletic slashers that roam the perimeter. He struggles guarding one-on-one in space, and gets lost on the perimeter chasing players around screens and off-the-ball movement. He does not do a very good job of contesting jump shooters, and is overall just an average competitor on the defensive end. Considering Harris’ overall high basketball IQ, there seems to be room for improvement on the defensive end if he can guard with more intensity. Harris can be a very good post defender that can get by for a few possessions on the perimeter if he increases his foot speed and plays with better focus and competitiveness.

 

Overview

 

There are few players in the current NCAA that produce at Harris’ level, as a scorer and rebounder, for an entire four year career. Harris has played at a very high level in a competitive program from his very first year at Gonzaga. He is a versatile scorer with an NBA body who is an outstanding finisher in the post. Harris does a great job of sealing off his man and converting at the rim, or working from the perimeter into the lane and absorbing contact to get to the rim. He has a very high basketball IQ, is a strong passer, and is great in transition both on the wing and leading the break. But the concern for Harris that raises questions about his ceiling, is his lack of increase in productivity, particularly as a perimeter scorer, over his four years. Harris’ top offensive season, in both scoring and shooting percentage, came in his freshman season. His three-point shooting has drastically declined this year, and Harris has lost all confidence in scoring from outside the paint. Defensively, Harris is a great rebounder and strong post defender, but struggles on the perimeter and has to improve his quickness to guard multiple positions in the NBA. Harris must transition certain facets of his game to become more perimeter oriented if he wants to succeed in the pros, a trait he has never been asked to do at Gonzaga.