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February 18, 2013

Connors State’s Hakeem Harris follows brother to Warner, two decades later

Little did Connors State men’s basketball coach Bill Muse know that when he signed Davidson transfer Frank Harris in 1992, he had recruited another player 20 years down the road.

The brother of Frank Harris.

“When I met the Harris (family), Frank’s mother had another son that was 1-year old,” Muse said.

That youngster turned out to be Hakeem, who along with the rest of the Cowboys will play at Northern-Tonkawa tonight at 8 p.m.

Frank played the 1992-93 season for the Cowboys and went on the earn a spot on the National Junior College Athletic Association’s All-America third team. He eventually transferred to New York University, an NCAA Division III school, where he earned All-New York City honors as well as being selected the team’s Most Valuable Player.

“Frank was a crafty-type guard,” Muse said. “He’s left-handed but could use his right hand just as well. Hakeem is about one-inch shorter and right-handed but is a more physical player.”

Hakeem is also a guard but plays a different style that his older sibling.

“Although I didn’t get to see Frank play collegiately, I was able to watch him in tournaments when I was younger,” Hakeem said. “The one thing I learned from watching him was how to score the basketball. That’s the one thing I emulate from his game is his offensive skills.”

The older Harris is now an entertainment attorney in Florida but has kept in contact with his former coach. After playing last season at Broward Community College in Florida, Hakeem let it be known he wanted to transfer and went to his brother for hands-on advice.

“I asked Frank what kind of person coach Muse was, what kind of system he ran,” Hakeem said. “I also asked if this was a legitimate chance for me to be successful. All the answers he gave me were very positive. Frank felt like at the junior college level, this was my best opportunity.”

When it comes to seeking advice outside of Connors, Hakeem knows that one person is just a phone call away.

“I’ve been through this, playing basketball from high school to college,” Frank said. “I’m hopefully helping him try and avoid some of the pitfalls and some of the adversity that I had to face myself. I can help him down the path he needs to go to be successful.”

Both Harris’ are also aware that a basketball career is short. Frank is there to guide his brother towards the future.

“When I was at Connors, my GPA was 3.8 to 4.0, something like that,” Frank said. “The average pro career is maybe four years and that’s why so many kids have issues when they can’t play anymore. They’re not equipped because they didn’t take care of themselves on the academic side.”

While Hakeem is looking at a future at the Division I level, with interest coming from Georgia Tech and Washington State, he is still enjoying his time in Warner.

“This has been a great experience,” Hakeem said. “Coach Muse is my most favorite coach I’ve ever had.”

Connors web streams some of the games, so Frank’s been able to see Hakeem play.

“Every game and every practice, I call him afterwards,” Hakeem said. “He critiques it and I offer my input. We critique every basketball outing. He advises me on other than basketball ... everything. He’s very, very, very influential.”

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