VIDEO: Gary Harris highlights
Few recruitments in the class of 2012 have been followed as closely as that of Gary Harris. As November approaches, it's nearing an end.
The 6-foot-5 senior from Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern has two finalists from the basketball-crazed state of Indiana on his list to go along with two traditional hoops powers in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State and Purdue.
Adding to the intrigue is that Indiana has been cleaning up in-state, he has significant family ties to Purdue, Michigan State has probably put the longest sustained effort into his recruitment and Kentucky has been able to make a late charge.
This Fall, Harris has been very busy as a wide receiver on the football team -- 34 catches, 697 yards and 10 TDs through 10 games -- but he's also been able to make some visits.
Harris' father, Gary Sr., spoke with Rivals.com about the visit process in general -- especially the difference between unofficial and official visits -- before breaking down some specifics of each visit.
"I think the main difference in any of the official visits from my standpoint and possibly from his and definitely from my wife's standpoint is the amount of time that can be spent," Harris Sr. told Rivals.com. "When you are going for a basketball game the staff and the players aren't really focused on you because they are focused on the game. They are still going to be cordial and friendly and all of that, but you don't get the one-on-one attention that you get on an official visit."
"It's not the individualized attention, the ongoing discussion and the chance to really sit down with the coaches and players that you get during an official visit," said Harris. "Ultimately you want to get a bigger and a better understanding of the people that you are sitting down with and that's where the official visits are important."
With that in mind, the elder Harris talked a little about some things that stood out on each visit the family has taken so far.
Purdue - "They have made some major improvements in facilities and upgrades and things like that. All of that was new, many places have the same thing but it's cool to see it when it's brand new."
Indiana - "Being at Hoosier Hysteria, their equivalent of midnight madness was different. The past two years he'd been heavily recruited he hasn't been able to be there for one of those events because of football. So, it was pretty cool to be there for one of those events and see a different side of things."
Kentucky - "That's the one place that none of us had been to as far as a visit. It was all brand new. There was interest in seeing what it's all about. They have a legendary program and and a very well-known coach. He's been to visit us but it was nice to get down on campus and get a feel for it similar to other campuses."
Of course, the one program that remains is Michigan State where Harris will visit officially the first weekend in November. Harris Sr. said that the Spartans have been there the entire time so the visit to East Lansing will be every bit as important as the others.
Upon completion of the Michigan State visit, the plan is to sit down and hopefully come up with a decision before the end of the early signing period.
"I think we've been pretty thorough throughout the whole process," said Harris Sr. "We are gathering all of the information. As you look at all four schools they have excellent coaches, strong basketball histories and facilities. Some are newer facilities and they are all top flight. You look at the fanbase, they are all strong and you look at what they have coming in.
"It's about seeing all of them and looking at them in totality. It's determining which place is best for him as a player and which place will give him an opportunity to maximize his ability is a basketball player."