Talk around Illinois is that the state's talent for the class of 2012 is lacking many impact players. This may be a result of this class being stuck between perhaps two of the state's best classes, as the 2011 class and 2013 class are brim full of likely impact players. Make no mistake though; the 2012 class has its share of probably impact players. Among the few names that are mentioned as one such player is Lake Forest Academy's Charles Harris. A six-foot-four guard from Antioch, Harris has been one of the Caxys's top performers in his junior season.
Prior to the start of his junior year, Harris made the decision to not play football, and to devote his focus to basketball and academics. Harris is simply an outstanding athlete and potential does remain that schools may continue to test his interest in coming to their school for football. However, with the development Harris has achieved on the court this season, his future looks to be indoors on the basketball court.
"He has played really well this high school season, he has had a couple of monster games and continues to develop," states Lake Forest Academy coach Matt Vaughn. "When he is on aggressive mode and attacking, which he has been for the most part this year, he is a tough player to stop going to the rim, and his outside shooting, his major liability in the past, has slowly become more consistent as well- especially his mid range game."
Harris also feels his season has been good overall, "We started off strong, had a little slump while in a tournament in Ohio, but I think we are back to playing the way we need to. I've had some good games in which I've had 27 points (North Chicago), and 25 points (Blair Academy). I averaged 18pts per game in the games during the Ohio trip against some good competition
A knock that some placed on Harris' game in the past was inconsistency. However, Harris has begun to drop that from the scouting report on his game, and Vaughn attributes some of that to the decision made this past summer.
"His decision not to play football this fall for the first time helped his basketball development for sure, and you can see that his overall game has started to "click" as the season has progressed. I like where his game is headed and as he builds up his body physically he will become even tougher to stop. "
Harris also addressed the inconsistencies; "The criticism was understandable because I did not always perform like the top player in the state. I have worked hard on my overall game and that has given me more confidence. I've put more effort into making sure I am involved in every play offensively or defensively, rather it be a tip out, steal, assist, or scoring the ball."
On the recruiting front, Harris has strong interests from Butler, Creighton, Wisconsin, Xavier, DePaul and Iowa, as well as Oregon State, which is the lone offer Harris reports. As far as visits, Indiana has been Harris' only visit, but he hopes to see Oregon State's campus in Corvallis before the season ends. He also wants to check out Butler and DePaul's campus in the near future as well.
When the time does come for Harris to select a program, factors which will come into play include relationship with the coaches, the campus lifestyle, the academics of the school, as well as a desire to see strong minutes early on. The tempo of the game will play a role as well, "I like a fast pace, up and down game but also I would like a place where we could slow it down if needed. I like a coach that is going to let his guards play and make plays."
At present, Harris is targeting a decision soon after his AAU season, just prior to his senior year.