Julian Harris is a 24 year old 196cm forward from Mansfield Texas. He has one season of professional basketball under his belt playing for the Raleigh Firebirds (TBL) and Kitchener-Waterloo Titans (Canada-NBL Canada) playing 22 games averaging 2.6ppg, 1.9rpg He began his basketball career at Lake Ridge High School and then played at the University of Texas at Arlington (NCAA)from 2014-2018 playing a total of 93 NCAA games. He helped the school reach the NIT Elite 8 in 2017. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Julian thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
I am currently in the Dallas Texas area. Basketball life right now is mostly working out in mornings with my trainer and watching some games on the TV.
Before we talk about your career, let’s us talk about how you experienced COVID-19 in 2020. You played your last professional game on March 8. How did you experience COVID-19 and what was most challenging about staying in shape and being able to keep working on your game?
Yeah so talking about Covid, I played my last game on March 8th. I got a flight back to Texas and probably a week later, I actually caught COVID 19. I was quarantined for 14 days. Didn’t get my taste and smell back until 2 months later. It was a little rough. But thank God I didn’t have to be hospitalized. Once I made a full recovery, the biggest struggle was just finding gym time during the lockdowns. So me and my trainer had to improvise with outside workouts and dribbling drills.
With everything you experienced of the court how do you feel did COVID-19 made you stronger as a man?
This year of COVID taught me a lot of lessons. But the one that’s stuck with me the most is, that things can get taken from you in a matter of seconds, so whatever that you are doing or investing into put your all into it. Give it everything because it could be gone before you even know.
The 20-21 season is underway, but not all leagues are playing. How difficult was this season’s transfer period? Do you feel like COVID-19 has played a major role in you being without a team now?
I think COVID had a big part in me not being on a team right now, you know it blocked a lot exposure and film that could’ve been used to get myself out there.
You finished at Texas Arlington (NCAA) in 2018, but began your rookie season in 2019-2020. How tough was that year after finishing school? Did you have a job and did you ever doubt the basketball process?
My first year out of college wasn’t tough at all, it was really like a weight off my shoulders. I didn’t have to buy into a system anymore, I could focus solely on myself and my skillsets. Which me and my trainer hit hard right after graduation that whole summer. I had been playing the 4 and the 5 in college. I could finally focus on my guard skillsets. Which I would need for the pro level. I also did play basketball that year. I played for the Raliegh Firebirds in the TBL (The Basketball League). Where I got rookie of the year there and got to play at the guard and wing positions. The TBL is a smaller league in the US that pros can play in and travel around America.
You played your rookie season with the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans (Canada-NBL Canada) playing 22 games averaging 2.6ppg, 1.9rpg. What was your rookie wake up call in Canada where you knew that you were very far away from Texas?
So the shocker that I knew I wasn’t in Texas anymore was when we were on the road for our first scrimmage in Sudbury and I woke up and looked at my phone and saw -8 degrees on the screen. I had never been to place that cold.
Was your rookie season such a big adjustment considering you hadn’t played that much either in school?
No, it wasn’t to much of an adjustment compared to college, you know I had to play my role for the success of the team. But that just gives me more fuel to the fire that I have to play this game, t work harder so there is no question that the coach needs me to on the court for the success of the team and not on the bench.
What kind of an experience was it playing in the Canadian NBL? The league is on the rise. What did you enjoy most about the whole experience in Canada?
.Playing in the Canadian NBL was great experience, I was like a sponge up there just trying to learn and grow as a professional. It was great competition, the biggest thing I enjoyed the most was learning from some of the vets on my team and just creating some good relationships.
How valuable was a guy like veteran Olumuyiwa Famutimi? Was he one of those players you paid extra attention to and tried to soak up as much as possible from his game?
Yeah Olu is my guy, he was a great vet to me. He helped me with some of the mental side of the game. Talking to me, encouraging me. I was always keeping a eye on how he approached the game, on and off the court. Awesome experience to play along side him.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 196cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
If I had to compare my game to anybody, I would say Kawhi. Because we have the same demeanor when we play. Don’t really show too much emotion. I can defend like him and same type of style on offense.
Talk a little about your strengths on the court. What area on offense do you see you helping teams most as well as on the defensive end?
I would help the team improve the most in is the ability to score off the dribble and getting to the rim. I also would help improve the flow of the offense with smart movement. Then on the defensive side would be on ball defense, one thing that every coach has done is put me on the best player to guard. I am also a very good help defender.
On what areas of your game are you currently working most on so you can continue to climb the basketball ladder?
I am enhancing my ability to be more proficient with my jump-shot and to build up my percentages.
How big is your hunger to play overseas? Do you have any ex teammates or friends that have played overseas?
It is tremendous, I am hungry and humble. Yes I have a couple old teammates that play overseas.
Describe in a few sentences as to why you could help any team at this moment?
I would bring an overall set of skills, that has been proven to enhance a team wherever I go. What I bring also is leadership ability along with enhancing the elevation of everyones game around me. I believe in team and team wins championships.
You played 4 years at University of Texas at Arlington (NCAA). What was your fondest moment there? Possibly reaching the NIT Elite 8?
My fondest moment at UTA was winning the Sun Belt Conference and also yes playing in that elite 8 game at home for the NIT.
As a freshman you played 11 minutes and scored 2 points against powerhouse Kentucky that had 10 future NBA players including Devin Booker. What do you remember from that game and did you have that feeling that you belonged?
Well how I felt about it was, It was great experience but a bit overwhelming at times. Due to the talent level that they had in comparison to what we were accustomed to playing against, but it was a great experience for me because that’s when I saw myself with comparable skillsets had I played in my proper position.
Despite not having the biggest role on the team how do you feel did your game grow and mature in your 4 years?
My overall game matured each year due to good coaching, level of play, IQ and hard-work.
How did you witness future NBA player Kevin Hervey grow as a player and what was your fondest memory with him in those 4 years?
.Yeah Kevin was actually my roommate for 3 of the years I was there. Tha’ts my brother we’ve been through the fire together. It was great to grow with each other and push each other everyday.
How did head coach Scott Cross groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He taught me good work ethic, and just an overall basketball insight.
Who won a one on one you or Kevin Hervey?
Kevin and I would play a lot of one on one. We both got some wins on our belt he might be ahead by like 2 games. Lol
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that reached the NBA?
The toughest player that I played against that is in the NBA was Devin Booker. He shot the lights out against us.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Erick Neal Kevin Hervey Olu Famutimi Jacob Van Faith Pope
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new?
Micheal Jordan Julius Erving Kareem Magic Johnson
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan? As a player and stats Lebron owned him, but Jordan has 6 rings?
.I am a Jordan fan all the way, my dad grew me up on MJ. My first ball was a MJ ball. Now Lebron has my full respect with everything he has done. But Jordan is still the G.O.A.T. His drive and passion for the game is above the rest.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I just recently watched this movie on Netflix called AVA.
Thanks Julian for the chat.