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May 7, 2012

Harrison in the fold

Lee's Summit (MO) West guard Shaquille Harrison first told Inside Tulsa Sports of his commitment to Tulsa three weeks ago. On Monday, it became official when the Hurricane announced Harrison as a signee.

"We're very excited to have Shaq become part of our Tulsa basketball program," said Tulsa head coach Danny Manning. "We're very fortunate in a sense that he was still available at this late stage in the recruiting game because of how talented of a player he is and the quality of young man that he is. The one thing that really stands out about Shaq is his determination and how hard he plays, especially on the defensive end of the floor.

"Shaq has been a multi-sport athlete throughout his high school career, and we feel that once he's able to concentrate on one sport, he'll continue to grow as a basketball player."

After Harrison took his visit to TU in the middle of April, he knew it was the perfect place for his college career.

"I felt like it was the right fit for me," he said. "My family loved it, I love it, and there are great coaches there. I wanted to be a part of that."

"I really liked it, very nice facilities and campus. I met a couple of the players, but not everyone. They showed me around campus, I saw the dorms, facilities and everything."

Harrison chose the Hurricane over offers from Miami (Ohio), Tennessee State and Northeastern. He was also receiving interest from Drake, Oral Roberts and Missouri State, where Tulsa assistant Steve Woodberry was previously coaching.

Harrison had done his research on Tulsa.

"I have friends that go there that really like it up there, and I looked into it a lot, and I know a lot about the coaching staff," he added.

Recently named one of the top 20 players in Missouri by MOsports.com after leading Lee's Summit West to a 27-4 record and a third place finish in Missouri Class 5 this season, Harrison averaged 17.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.2 steals as a senior.

When asked about his strengths, Harrison said, "My athleticism, getting to the basket, and getting in the passing lanes."

Harrison is a two-time all-conference and two-time all-district performer, and he has also earned Most Valuable Player honors in the William Jewell tournament each of the past two seasons. As a senior, he earned all-state honors from the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association and was named Player of the Year in the Suburban league.

What they're saying about Harrison:

Lee's Summit West head coach Michael Schieber: "Shaq is a tremendous young man. Everything that he's gotten has been through hard work. He's a very mature individual. He's come a long way in his high school career. He's been our leader on the floor. As for his basketball talent, he's right up there with some of the best I've ever coached including Michael Dixon at Missouri and Todd Fletcher at the Air Force Academy.

"One thing that is very impressive about Shaq in my mind is how hard he plays on the defensive end. I think most players of his caliber take plays off on the defensive end, and he never did. He always played tremendously hard defensively. Offensively, he's a slasher, driver and finisher. He made the players around him better. In critical game situations, he was always the player we wanted to have the ball, whether it was him shooting it or setting someone up for a play.

"He'll need to improve his perimeter shooting, but he's been an all-around athlete and was a great football player and ran track, so he never concentrated on basketball for 365 days of the year. He certainly has the ability to be an outside scorer. He's a rangy, long kid who can play both the point and two-guard positions. I definitely think his best basketball is in front of him."

KC Run GMC AAU coach L.J. Goolsby: "Shaq is a great competitor and his teams win. His transition to the college level will be positive as he'll now be able to concentrate on one sport. Shaq is very good at getting to the basket as well as making plays for his teammates on the offensive side of the ball. He has great instincts defensively and has the ability to get his hands on the ball to create turnovers."

Video of Shaquille Harrison:

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