Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino might have secured his future backcourt Wednesday with a verbal commitment from New Jersey guard Jamir Harris.
Harris, a three-star prospect from The Patrick School in Elizabeth, N.J., joined four-star point guard Isaiah Washington out of New York City to close out Minnesota’s 2017 recruiting class.
“It just felt like the place for me,” Harris said. “I went on campus for an unofficial visit [this summer]. I felt so comfortable. Real family-oriented feeling there.”
The Gophers are done with their class of ’17 for now, according to a source close to the situation. Pitino used both of his available scholarships on the NYC-area guards. He can’t comment on specific players until they sign.
Harris planned to make official visits to Minnesota and Stanford this fall, but he received an in-home visit from Pitino and assistant Kimani Young on Tuesday night.
“I’ve had a really good relationship with them throughout the whole recruiting process,” Harris said.
“They just told me they needed me and wanted me to be a part of their program. I knew it was genuine. I felt the same way.”
The 6-2, 180-pound Harris is considered one of the top shooters in his class. He shot 39 percent from three-point range in the prestigious Nike Elite Youth Basketball League this summer for the Playaz Basketball Club in New Jersey.
“Jamir is a piece to Pitino’s puzzle,” Scout.com recruiting director Evan Daniels said. “He wanted to add a guy who can make shots, and Jamir does that at a high level.”
Harris played one season with current Gophers sophomore and New York native Dupree McBrayer at The Patrick School two years ago. He played against Washington, from St. Raymond’s high school, growing up.
“I was definitely excited,” Harris said. “Isaiah is a great player. I grew up with him. I played against him a lot. I know we’re going to be doing big things in the backcourt in the future.”
With the two scholarships claimed, Commonwealth Academy (Mass.) forward Hasahn French will no longer be making his scheduled official visit this week to Minnesota.
Pitino didn’t land any Minnesota prospects after offering six scholarships to in-state players.
But the Gophers’ two-player recruiting class is ranked No. 28 nationally, according to 247Sports.com. Last year’s class with Amir Coffey, Michael Hurt and Eric Curry was also in the top 30.
Washington has a top-70 consensus ranking nationally. Harris brings three-point shooting and can play both guard spots, similar to ex-Gopher Andre Hollins.
He’s also an accomplished student, carrying a 3.9 GPA last year.
“Academics are very important to me,” said Harris, who plans to major in sports broadcasting. “I want to put in work in the classroom and on the court.”