Eugene Harris is a 29 year old 193cm point guard from Pittsburgh and is playing his sixth professional season and first in Germany with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau. Last season he played for Siarka Tarnobrzeg (Poland-TBL): 13 games: 6.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 32.6%, 3FGP: 25.4%, left in Jan.’16, later that month moved to KTE-Duna Aszfalt (Hungary-A Division): 11 games: 6.4ppg, 1.4rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 28.3%, FT: 75.0%. He started his basketball career in 2006 with High Point (NCAA) where he played until 2010 playing a total of 121 NCAA games. As a senior he played 30 games averaging 14.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 38.7%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 87.5%.In his first five professional seasons, he has gained vast experience having played in countries like Lithuania, Georgia, Cyprus, Macedonia, and Ukraine. He spoke to German Hoops shortly after signing with Hanau last summer.
Eugene thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. Congrats on signing with Pro A team Hebeisen White Wings. You have played in many countries in Europe, but this will be your first season in Germany. What ties do you to Germany in general and what do you know about the country and it´s basketball?
I actually know a couple of guys that played in this country so I’m pretty familiar with what to expect here.
You are going to play your fifth professional country and Germany is your eighth country. Do you at times feel like a basketball globetrotter?
Yes sometimes I do feel that way but it has its advantages I’ve had great experiences and met great people along the way on and off the court!
How did the contact come about to the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau? You stated that I am glad to be around dynamic people that are working for a goal and seeking success. How vital was the professionalism of the club for you signing on the dotted line?
My agent and Head coach of Hanau being in contact with each other in which interest was shown in me It was extremely vital one of the most important components in having a successful season, this team has a very motivated head coach and coaching staff that emphasizes the importance of improving my overall skills to the smallest details which was important to me.
You have played for seven professional teams in seven different countries, but what do the Hebeisen White Wings have as an organization that you haven´t experienced yet as a professional?
I think a coaching staff that loves the game of basketball along with a player development coach that really is committed to getting the individual better
What do you respect most about head coach Simon Cote in the short time that you have been with the club?
His willingness to maximize the potential of the group of guys he signed this year. That is the biggest aspect I’ve notice so far along with the communication that he requires with every player on and off the court “small details matter”
You have belonged to the top import players in many countries where you have played, but that first professional title has still eluded you. Does that desire to win that chip grow with every passing year?
Yes it does because of the opportunity it creates for my teammates and organization so winning that “chip” this year is vital
In the past with other professional teams you often were the main offensive force, but with Hanau there will be more scoring weapons. Do you see yourself being more of a playmaker this season than in the past and do you see yourself becoming more of an assist man this season?
Yes I see myself playing a bigger role doing both and finding that balance between finding my guys and scoring.
Let´s talk a little about your game. You’re an All around guard, who can do everything on the court- handle the ball, assist to his teammates, run the fast break, penetrate inside, shoot from the perimeter or off the dribble and are a good defender. What do you consider your biggest asset on the court?
I think it varies based of situation being able to shoot the ball and read the game pick n roll etc.
If you had to compare your style of game to a NBA player which player would you pick?
I like to study the game and different players from NBA to Europe I will let you guys make the comparisons
You can fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
Interesting question I think being a vocal leader getting players in the right spot
Last season you played in Poland and Hungary and it was kind of a season to forget. Your stats were down and you had to change clubs. What did you learn from last season that will help you with future decisions?
No I will always remember it. I want to remember it. I learned a lot from last year the main thing is learning how to adapt to any situation regardless of circumstances is the main thing!
As a rookie you played with Naglis-Adakris Palangos (Lithuania-LKL) and Sokhumi Tbilisi (Georgia-Superleague). What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home Pittsburgh?
Being a professional in all aspects eating the right things, watching film, stretching just a few things you have to do all by yourself unlike in college where you had coaches making you do it.
You had possibly your best offensive season two years ago with SK Dnipro Azot Dniprodzerzhynsk (Ukraine-Superleague) playing 29 games: Score-3(16.8ppg), 3.0rpg, 5.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 77.0%. Did this season give you the satisfaction that you could be a top player in probably the strongest league that you had played in as a professional?
I played well but my focus was winning games and continuing to prove myself in the years ahead was my main focus honestly
You had a great college career at High Point finishing career ranked 13th in all-time scoring at HPU, with 1,411 points in 121 career games, an average of 11.7 … HPU’s all-time leader in three-pointers made (283) and attempted (777), ranked second all-time in career games (121) and starts (93), fifth in career assists (263) and steals (129). What is your most cherished moment that you had in your four year career there?
Hitting Game winners on the road in hostile environments and also winning! at the time we were the all time winningest team and that was big for the university!
How did head coach Bart Lundy groom and prepare you best for a professional career at High Point?
Very tough nose coach who gave me a lot of responsibility as soon as I stepped on campus as a freshmen and that motivated me every day to not let only him down but my teammates also, which helped me grow into a leader on the floor.
Your ex teammate Arizona Reid is still going strong and is more of a globetrotter than you as he has played in 10 countries throughout his professional career. When you look at his career do you ever wonder how strange the basketball business can be. He was one of the top players in the Big South with 23/11 stats as a senior, but never played for top level teams in Europe.
Knowing Arizona Personally I have a better understanding of the direction he wants to take and how he views Europe etc He is one of the best players I’ve ever played with and He’s been extremely successful everywhere he’s played producing relatively close to the same stats you mentioned above. It will happen in due time for him! In the mean time he’s having a lot of financial success in other markets as well!
Who was the toughest player that you battled against in the NCAA that went to the NBA?
Ty Lawson played well against us
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore and chose 4 NBA heads which best four would you pick?
Mike Jordan, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlin , Hakeem Olajuwon
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does this further NBA title put him against the best that ever played the game?
Right now maybe top 10
What was the last movie that you saw?
Purge “Election Year.
Thanks Eugene for the chat.