Each spring, college coaches move around all over the country leaving players in limbo. Luckily for the nation's No. 77 player, Malek Harris, he never signed a letter of intent with Marquette so when Buzz Williams moved to Virginia Tech he was free to take a look around. Now, he's settled on a group of five
from which he will choose.
A 6-foot-7 small forward who sat out his senior season at Orland Park (Ill.) Sandburg, Harris has been getting his legs back under him this spring by running with his longtime summer squad the Illinois Wolves as he sorts
through his college decision.
"He didn't play his high school season so we wanted him to be able to replace that," Wolves coach and program director Mike Mullins told Rivals.com. "He didn't sign a letter of intent and that turned out to be a blessing because Coach Williams changed his job and moved out of the Midwest."
Now that he has opened things back up, Harris is taking a hard look at Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas State, Marquette and Virginia Tech. In putting the list together, Harris, his mother and his coaches had some criteria in mind.
"We were looking for people who saw him play and who knew what his strengths were and where he can get better," said Mullins. "We also thought it was important that we find places where he could come in and play since he didn't get to play that last high school year. We didn't want to find a place where he was kind of a redundant player."
This weekend, the four-star prospect takes his first official visit to Manhattan to check out Bruce Weber and the Wildcats.
"I think all the schools have kind of the same thing," said Mullins. "They have a need for a wing player with size and quickness, versatility, toughness and a high motor. Kansas State has had a couple of good years back to back under Coach Weber winning the Big 12 and making the NCAA with a young team. Obviously with Marcus Foster and some good bigs coming back they have some nice pieces."
After his visit to Kansas State, Harris will actually head back to Kansas the weekend of April 25th to play with the Wolves in the Jayhawk Invitational. Shortly after that, he'll head to Virginia Tech for a visit.
"The recruitment with them is because of their relationship with Coach Williams and coach Chew," said Mullins. "What (Williams) is sayint to him there is obviously different than what he said at Marquette because the programs are in different stages right now."
Despite a long layoff, Harris has returned strong. He used his time off to hit the weight room gaining 13 pounds as a senior and he's also tightened up his all-around game.
"When we played at Swish 'N Dish the first weekend of April his first couple of games weren't rusty but he was rushing," said Mullins. "Like a puppy who had been locked in the house all day he was trying to do too much. As we got into games four, five and six and won our bracket he was a big part of that.
"As we've practeced the last couple of weeks he is a bigger and stronger player than last year. His ball handling is much tighter, the form on his shot is better and he looks like a guy hwo has had another year."
Moving forward, Harris wants to arrive at a decision in as timely a manner as possible. But, he's also going to be sure not to rush.
"I think the patience of going through the process is a big thing he's learned," said Mullins. "Also to look at it as not an emotional decision. Last time he had visits set up and committed on an unoffiical and his mom thought he rushed it. Not the choice, but the timing.
"Now they've met and talked to all of the coaches. They've prepared questions and scheduled times to do phone calls when they can both be there."
Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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