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Harris and his eligibility

I mentioned in a previous post that I've put together an article on Elias Harris that will likely run sometime later this week. As luck would have it, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury-News had a blog post today concerning Harris' eligibility. The conclusion, with Wilner expressing skepticism along the way, was that Harris wasn't paid and neither were his Speyer teammates, making him eligible immediately, according to Gonzaga and the NCAA eligibilty center.

During our interview Tuesday, Harris said he played for an amateur team in the third division so he could maintain his options of playing collegiately in the U.S. I asked GU assistant Tommy Lloyd, who was the primary recruiter on Harris, how Harris became a Zag (some of these comments will appear in the Harris article later this week):

“From when I played in Germany I had some coaching friends and there was a coach in his area that I keep in contact with named Torsten Daume,” Lloyd said. “I asked him if there were any kids in his area that were good prospects and he said, ‘There is one kid in a neighboring town that I wanted to sign on my team, but he doesn’t want to sign a contract. His name is Elias Harris.’ "

Lloyd went on to discuss watching Harris play in Germany within a week of that phone call.

I also spoke to Dirk Bauermann, Harris' coach on the German national team, who is in town to watch Harris play tonight against Pepperdine. Said Bauermann: "It (Speyer) was strictly an amateur team. Third division is probably like an average to bad D-II team here."

Bauermann said Harris had played for Germany's junior national team, which exposed him to better players and coaching before moving up to the senior national team last summer. "But the club (Speyer) team wasn't all that good," the coach said. "He did it to be able to play here (in U.S.) and not lose a year of eligibility."

Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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