LaByron Harris (202-F-97, college: Miles) is a 24 year old 202cm forward from Alabama that is seeking the professional career. He played at three schools at Wallace Community College Selma (JUCO) playing a total of 49 games averaging 2.4ppg, 1.2rpg and in his second season averaged 10.3ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.0apg, 3.9bpg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 64.9%. He then played a season at Blue Mountain College (NAIA) playing 24 games averaging 7.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 49.6%, FT: 63.3%. In his senior year he moved to Miles College (NCAA2) playing: 29 games averaging 6.4ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 64.1%. He will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Combine in Germany in August 2021 and spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Labyron thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
I’m in Birmingham, AL right now & basketball life is great, I’m not where I want to be but I continue to workout everyday!
You finished school in 2019. How have you been keeping busy the last two years outside of basketball? Did you get a 9-5 job to help pay the bills?
Well I actually stopped going to school during the spring semester of 2020 in January, that was due to personal reasons. I had a lot to take care of dealing with my family at the time. I want to go back to school but I want to do it online because going on campus won’t work with my life now. As far as outside of basketball activities, I have my beautiful 3 year old daughter that I take care of & I had a job but I quit for a couple of reasons. Day Care was down because of Covid so I chose to stop working so I could have my little girl throughout the week so her mom could work, also I wanted to pursue basketball full time which is what I’ve been doing. I also did door dash when I had my car & that brought in a lot of money for me to take care of what I needed. Also door dash enabled me to bring in money while I had my little girl with me because you’re in the car delivering food the whole time.
Were you able to use your college degree to get into the job field that you wanted?
I have not graduated yet. I have my brick masonry certification from JUCO but that’s it so far. I made the deans list in college but like I said previously I had a lot of personal things going on at the time that hindered my schooling but all that is fixed now & I’m in a much better place now.
How big has your urge been to be a professional player since leaving Miles College (NCAA2)?. Obviously it isn’t easy to turn pro from a NCAA 2 school but it can be done. Why do you believe hasn’t your dream of being a professional player panned out?
My urge to play professionally is extremely high, I’m a student of the game & I love basketball in general. If I’m not playing it then I’m watching it. My dream hasn’t panned out yet because being in Division 2 ball with not great stats is not helpful. It’s like that because our coach emphasized team ball so we had multiple players that could go get you 20 points but we didn’t play that way, we really executed the system & also trying to make it professionally without an agent is also another reason. I’ve literally had to ask players that I know who are already overseas or people that played in the past just trying to see what I need to do because obviously this is my first time in this process so it’s been a struggle but I’ve found beauty in it & that’s why I keep going no matter what.
Let’s talk a little about COPVID-19. What were the biggest challenges for you during this time? Was it tougher keeping that normal work out routine?
Personally I didn’t really have challenges during Covid besides basketball because I’m a simple guy. I don’t really go anywhere, I like to stay inside & chill. I’m not really with all the outside activities. I like to have fun but I’m just a chill person. For basketball it was definitely hard because all the gyms closed & they even took down the goals on the outside rims so it was hard to get shots in but I worked out as hard as I could at home with in home workouts. It got better towards the middle of Covid because private sessions started being held. So that helped a lot.
With everything that you have experienced during COVID-19 off the court how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?
Well I can say that it helped me find myself & get more in tune with myself mentally because we couldn’t go anywhere even though I really don’t go anywhere anyway. But that’s about it, I didn’t really have a hard time staying still during Covid.
You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Combine in Germany in August. How excited are you to show your abilities in front of GM’s and coaches?
Oh man I’m extremely excited to show what I can do. The main reason is because I know my senior stats aren’t eye popping because of our system play so I’ll be able to show them what I can do for the eye test because I know how important the eye test is. Also, I honestly feel I belong so I’m ready to prove it to myself & the GM’s
How excited are you to be playing in Germany? What do you know about the country and it’s basketball? Have you had friends or ex opponents or teammates play there?
I can’t even put into words how excited I am to play in Germany! It is really a dream to even get a chance. I know it’s a good place to start your overseas career. As far as the country, I don’t really know too much honestly but I’m a quick learner & I’m ready to learn the culture & everything dealing with Germany! No I do not know anybody who played in Germany specifically.
How did you get in contact with CEO and founder Ron Howard? Did he find you or did you find him?
I found him! I saw a flyer & immediately contacted him through email & filled out the application for the combine. Also we connected on Instagram.
Ron Howard is a legend. He is the voice for the unknown players wanting to get a job overseas. What kind of relationship do you have with him and what do you appreciate most about his character.
I’ve had a few conversations with Coach Ron but mostly about what I need to do for the combine, I haven’t really just had a heart to heart with him yet but from what I’ve observed, he’s really helpful & he truly wants to see people like me succeed. He’s also really genuine & reliable!
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 202cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
If I had to honestly compare myself to an NBA player is would probably be offensively kind of like Jeff Green because I can spot up shoot, I can cut backdoor & I can pick & pop or roll or Brandon Ingram because also I can create off the dribble if need be & I can also get into the lane & finish effectively! Defensively I’m probably like Ben Simmons because I can guard 1-5 on the court & I make it tough to score with my length & defensive instincts.
You can score and rebound, but what really stands out is your shot blocking abilities. Is defense your biggest strength?
Yes my defense is my biggest strength because of my defensive versatility. My blocks are not just me standing in the paint, I come from the wing to block a shot also I’ll chase a block down. I also get blocks on ball when a player tries to shoot on me because of my length & if I don’t block your shot I have good shot contest skills to really make a shot difficult for my opponent.
Would you be comfortable to say that you are a type of defensive stopper?
I wouldn’t say defensive stopper but I can definitely slow a player down & give him a rough night because it won’t be easy to score in bunches on me.
On what area’s of your game are you working on most so you can continue to grow as a player?
My midrange game as far as pull ups & my ball handling to get it more secure. Also just continuing to get shots up.
You played at 3 schools and moved up the ladder each year going form JUCO to NAIA to NCAA 2. How big is your chip on your shoulder? It must be bursting?
The chip on my shoulder is huge! Everywhere I played I put the work in to play. I was also a very vital piece on every team I played on. I had to really spend a lot of nights in the gym because I started playing basketball late so I actually didn’t have a scholarship coming out of high school only playing 2 years of it, so to think I’m at this point now really humbles me & makes me grateful all the time.
You began at Wallace Community College Selma (JUCO) and made a massive jump from freshman year to sophomore year averaging 2.4ppg, 1.2rpg to averaging 10.3ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.0apg, 3.9bpg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 64.9%. Every guy I speak to say JUCO was hard, but an experience they wouldn’t trade anything for you. How vital were these two years in your development?
Oh man like I said previously only playing 2 years in high school, those 2 years in JUCO was basically like my other high school years. JUCO is where I truly came into myself & my style of play. We had a dribble drive offense so I shot a lot of shots & had to create off the dribble a lot. That really elevated my game playing in that style of play. JUCO made me the player I am today so I am very grateful for that experience. Also my coach really believed in me & that helped me produce the way I did.
How vital was head coach Duane Evans in your development in those two years? How do you feel did he help your game most?
Coach Evans was very vital in my development because for one he actually cared & that meant a lot to me. He really trusted me with the ball & helped me develop as a perimeter player which caused a lot of mismatches because I’m dribbling & shooting at 6’7, which is crazy for JUCO ball especially when I’d come back down on the other end & check the same person I just scored on whether it was a 6’0 guard or 6’8 big. He really wanted me to shoot & that’s what I did because we got up a lot of shots up on the shooting machine so I trusted the preparation
You then played a season at Blue Mountain College (NAIA) averaging 7.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 49.6%, FT: 63.3%. What do you remember from this year and what positives could you take form it?
That Blue Mountain year was only so rough because of outside issues for me personally. I had just found out my daughter was on the way along with many other things. The school is great & I like what they’re doing but our team as a whole was never on the same page, we had a brand new team, all transfers mostly & we went through 3 coaches so it was rough but some positives I can take from that year is that we beat a few ranked teams as bad as we played & I also got bigger while I was at Blue Mountain. As a player I definitely took a step back though & that’s on me!
You then finished at Miles College (NCAA2) averaging 6.4ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 64.1%. You helped win the SIAC tournament. Was this your most enjoyable time in your basketball career?
Miles College was definitely the highlight of my college career. Everything I went through previously prepared me for Miles & it was definitely a blessing in disguise. The stats don’t even do it justice how good we played that year as a team. I didn’t shoot much at Miles. I mostly attacked the rim & had to help my guys on defense & we were able to have the top defense in the nation which is major! We were a big team also. We won the Western Division, & also won the SIAC Championship which both were the first time in our school’s history! My contributions to the championship run secured the MVP for me! That definitely topped of my college career & I went out with a bang because that was my senior year! Also we played the playoffs & championship at the crossplex arena which is in Birmingham, AL which is where I’m from so that really meant a lot to me personally playing in front of my hometown!
Who won a one on one in practice you or Rashawn Champan?
Rashawn & I only played a couple of times but I got the best of him because of my shooting, he’s a really good, long defender like me so it was a battle.
How did head coach Fred Watson help give you that last push in your game?
Coach Watson really helped me more so mentally than physically. He didn’t want me to let opponents off the hook because I played passive, he wanted me to be more aggressive & use my skills to create mismatches because I’m quicker than bigs & bigger than guards so that was his biggest thing with me just being more aggressive & being in attack mode more instead of being passive because he knew what I could do on the court.
Who was the best player that you ever battled that went to the NBA?
I’ve never played against a guy in college & then he went to the NBA. Most of them have went overseas though so I would have to say probably the lead guard for Kentucky State during our year, I can’t remember his name but he is a bucket & he can score with the best of them! I’ve played against NBA players but not like in college & then watched them go the league
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Well I actually love all of my teammates from all three schools first off. But if I really had to narrow it down to just 5 wow, I’d have to say Gene Davis, Damien Archer, Jaylon Bardley, Rashawn Chapman, & Jelani Watson-Gayle. That was tough because I love all my teammates but I thinks that’s my best 5.
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
I’d have to say LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, & Magic Johnson. That’s my personal Mt. Rushmore.
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
Haha well my favorite player of all time is LeBron but in my personal opinion I don’t mind if people say MJ is the goat because I only feel like 3 people could be the goat. Either LeBron, MJ, or Kareem. If you say either one of them is the goat I won’t argue but me personally my absolute favorite player is LeBron but I’d put MJ number 1 & LeBron 2 reluctantly
What was the last movie that you saw?
War for the Planet of the Apes
Thanks Labyron for the chat.