Off to a strong start this season, the Johnson City boy’s basketball team is looking to continue to improve.
Among those who keep getting better is my Athlete of the Week.
“I actually started dunking around the end of 9th grade going into my sophomore year. 10th grade I kind of, really exploded with dunking. So, it really took from there,” said Johnson City Senior Guard Keith Harris.
When you watch Keith Harris on the court, there’s a bit of a wow-factor that comes with his game.
The high-flying senior is in his final season with the Wildcats, and he says that his team has their eyes set on a big prize.
“But, my team. We’re definitely going to, hopefully make it to states this year. Have a lot of stuff connecting. We come out here and work every day. So, working as a team, we should be good.”
As far as Keith’s skills on the court, they go beyond just being able to throw down a dunk.
Harris’ head coach at JC, Bill Spalik, witnesses that firsthand on a daily basis.
“Keith is a super athlete. Along with his athleticism, he has good instincts on the court. So, you’re right. You’re always waiting for that special moment that he creates through his athleticism. But, he works at it. It doesn’t come easy. He’s a hard worker. He grinds every day, and pushes his teammates to be better every day. So, the things that he reaps are well-earned, for sure,” Coach Bill Spalik says.
Harris, who’s listed as 6-foot-2, but may have a few extra inches with the afro that he’s been growing since his sophomore year, has shown his athleticism time and again.
He told me that he didn’t get it from his mother, but that he does get something else from her, inspiration.
“She has a lot. She put me through all my sports. She pays for everything. All the training for basketball, football. So, she’s definitely played a big impact…Oh, definitely. My mom just keeps going. Never stops. She’s got to take care of us. So, yeah.”
Keith is one of eight total kids, including two who were adopted by his mother, Marlaena Gordon.
Despite having so many people to take care of, Keith told me she’s always come through for the family, and this time of year is no exception.
Christmas is big in the Harris house, as they always host a large family gathering, and Keith said last year was one of the best he’s had.
“Last year. My mom definitely made it happen for us. So, last year was the best Christmas. It was Christmas all over, so…I got a lot. I got some shoes, two game systems, some Beats. A whole bunch of stuff.”
Harris was raised by his mother the right way, and coach Spalik recognizes that in how Keith work’s on the court and how he conducts himself off of it.
“He’s a super kid. He really is. He’s a super kid. He’s the first kid to pick up a teammate and bring him to practice. The first guy to offer someone a ride home. Very encouraging teammate. He’s a real pleasure to have in the gym.”
After a short break for the holiday, Harris and the Wildcats are back in action on December 28th at the Josh Palmer Classic in Elmira.