Tobias Harris Interview
One of the top freshmen in the nation, Tennessee's Tobias Harris is a potential one and done candidate and is currently projected as a mid-first round pick for the 2011 draft. Harris is averaging 15.1 ppg and 7.1 rpg.
NBADraft.net: Your father Torrel was George Gervin’s agent. How did your father’s involvement with the NBA influence your basketball career?
Tobias Harris: My dad was a big influence in me sticking with basketball growing up. He was the one who put the ball in my hands and instilled a great work ethic in me. Basketball was always in the family and my dad made me want to continue that. I remember in the 9th or 10th grade, we once spent a week with George Gervin. He really helped my game, especially my jumper.
NBADraft.net: You were in injured in the off-season yet still traveled with and supported the USA team at the NIKE Hoops summit. Talk about your experience this past off-season.
Tobias Harris: I was injured and wasn’t able to play but it was a great experience. Sitting out made me appreciate the game more. You never want to miss such a great event.It was great to see the college and European players together. I would’ve loved to have played.
NBADraft.net: How about your readiness for the NBA? What are your strengths? What can you bring to an NBA team?
Tobias Harris: My strength is my versatility. Being 6'8 and able to put the ball on the floor and push it up the court, I think I bring versatility and I can create mis-matches for a team.
NBADraft.net: What do you think is the most underrated part of your game?
Tobias Harris: Probably my outside jump shot. It’s not something that I have done much of this season but I'm always in the gym working on my shot. I’m getting better finding my spots and it’s another tool in my game that I’m working on.
NBADraft.net: What are you focused on improving upon?
Tobias Harris: Mostly continuing to rebound and defense. Coach Pearl has helped me a lot in teaching me how to read plays and find my defensive spots.
NBADraft.net: The team dropped 4 games in 2 and a half weeks then bounced back with a big win over Memphis. What do you think of your performance over the first two months of the season, individually and as a team?
Tobias Harris: The team started off high and it was going well. We backtracked a bit with the losses but got back with the big win over Memphis. We’re looking to continue on from that. Personally, I think I've been pretty good. I’m always learning the game and feel I have been getting better with every game.
NBADraft.net: What’s the biggest adjustment playing in the NCAA?
Tobias Harris: The intensity picks up a couple of notches from high school. I think I’ve been able to match the intensity and physicality though.
NBADraft.net: What are your thoughts, expectations heading into conference play?.
Tobias Harris: We will be without Coach Pearl but we know what we need to do to win. I’m looking forward to conference play. Our expectation will be to win these games. We just need the energy and to feed off each other because we know that when we all play together as a team, we’re unstoppable. Like we did against Memphis.
NBADraft.net: Toughest Opponent you have faced?
Tobias Harris: I have played against Jared Sullinger in AAU the last two summers. He’s real tough. So him and Terrence Jones as well. I played AAU against him. I also saw Lance Stephenson when I was real young. He was raised in New York too. You could see his toughness and will on the court. Playing against these guys makes you want to raise your game as well.
NBADraft.net: Favorite NBA players?
Tobias Harris: Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony. And I like Gerald Wallace.
NBADraft.net: Have you had the chance to meet any of them?
Tobias Harris: I haven’t met those guys but I did meet Chris Paul & Michael Jordan at the Jordan classic.
NBADraft.net: Who do you pattern your game after?
Tobias Harris: I like Melo, being a small forward. If I’m watching a game, he’s the guy I want to watch.