D`Angelo Harrison is a very interesting and charismatic player for St. Johns.
He's intense, wears his emotions on his sleeve and is not afraid to celebrate after a big dunk or an important shot. He is a 6 foot 3' combo guard who never saw a shot he didn't like. He has never shot over 40% from the field in his three seasons at St. Johns, but he has grown in numerous ways since he arrived on campus as a freshman.
D`Angelo was actually born in Alaska, but later moved to Missouri City, Texas to live with his grandmother. There he attended Dulles High School (where Roger Clemens is the most notable alumnus). He was one of the best high school guards in the country, but when the time came for him to make a decision about college, he surprisingly picked St. John's in October 2010.
In Harrison's freshman year, he averaged about 17 points per game and was on the Big East All-Rookie team with teammate Moe Harkless, who currently plays for the Orlando Magic. He also set a new St. John's all-time freshman scoring record with 544 points.
Coach Steve Lavin was very optimistic about his upcoming sophomore season. "D`Angelo ranks among the most-prolific scorers that I have had the opportunity to coach," Lavin said. "Dee will get ample minutes as a lead guard for us. His focus this offseason was to enhance his playmaking skills. Going back to when we were recruiting him, I envisioned him in that role. Clearly, his leadership and gradual maturation on all fronts will help our program move forward. He has embraced the role of being an extension of our coaching staff and is positioned nicely to have an outstanding sophomore campaign."
D`Angelo had a very good start to his sophomore campaign, pouring in a career high 36 points against Villanova. But in February 2013, Harrison was suspended for the rest of the season for, as Lavin described, a pattern of failing to meet expected standards for conduct and behavior. D`Angelo did not break the law or fail a drug test, and he was not sure what he had done to deserve a season-ending suspension. He was upset, and when he called his grandmother Angela to tell her the news, she took the first flight to New York City to try and convince Lavin that his suspension was a mistake
Angela failed to convince Lavin, and Harrison was suspended for the remainder of the season. Exiled from the Johnnies, he agreed to go to an anger management facility in Houston run by former NBA player and coach John Lucas. He had known Lucas from living in the Houston area in high school, and at the facility he also met Mike Rice. Rice was the former coach at Rutgers who was fired for physically and emotionally hurting players and also using homophobic slurs. Rice and Harrison formed a Big East bond and pushed each other to become better people. Rice can now be found at many St. John's games to give D`Angelo support and encouragement.
Harrison came out of anger management a changed man, and he had more trust in his teammates by realizing that he will not get St. John's to the national stage by himself. D`Angelo became a better on ball defender and was the third-leading scorer in the conference his junior season, while recording similar numbers from the previous year.
Harrison could be a late first round or early second round pick in the 2015 draft if he plays to his full potential. He will likely be the leading scorer in the Big East this year, and as he's shown, will change on and off the court for the good of the team.
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