Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where Are They Now?: An Interview with Simon Harris

Simon Harris, since he was nine years old, had always dreamed of putting on a Wolfpack jersey. That dream came true in 2006, when head coach Sidney Lowe offered him a spot on the team and the opportunity to play for the Wolfpack. After two seasons playing at Elon University, Simon decided to make the move and transfer to play under Coach Lowe and his father, assistant coach Larry Harris.

Donning the red and white was a true privilege to Harris and you could see it every time he stepped on the court. Standing at 6'5, Simon was a bit undersized for the forward position, but what he lacked in height, he made up for in heart. No one can deny the fact that every time Simon Harris stepped for on the floor he gave 100%. He dove for loose balls, recklessly crashed the boards, and never got down on a teammate. Harris graduated last season and took some time off to decide what was next and if he wanted to peruse a career in basketball. That answer came when he signed a contract to play overseas in Ireland, where he currently resides, preparing for the upcoming season. We had the opportunity to catch up with Simon and talk a little bit about his time at NC State, Ireland and what he thinks the future might hold for himself, and the Wolfpack basketball program. Enjoy.

WPH: Talk a little about your time at NC State and playing for Coach Lowe and your father, Larry Harris. Where do you see this program going?

SimonI loved my time at NC State, I had always wanted to play there since I was 9 years old so it was really a dream come true. It was also very fun to play for my father because I didn't really get to be around him much as a child, so it was great making up for lost time on a nearly daily basis. It allowed he and I to become a lot closer which was great, because he'd always been on the road a bunch so it was cool being around one another in practice and at functions and such. 

I think the team has a really bright future. I think we brought in a ridiculously talented and extremely under rated freshman class. I feel as if they are very mature for being younger guys and have a few solid seasons ahead of them. 

WPH: Former Pack player and NBA agent Jamie Knox has kept us updated on your status these past few months. There was a time when you were contemplating working with Jamie and working your way up to being a sports agent. Tell us a little about why you decided against it for the time being and if it is something you might be interested in doing in the future.

Simon I postponed going into the working world solely because I was blessed enough to have been given an opportunity to continue my playing career. I feel that I am very young and have been blessed with a solid amount of athletic ability that I felt I should still try and use to the best of my ability. It really was something that took me a while to come to a conclusion about, but after speaking with people that I feel are important in my life like: my mother, my dad, Jamie Knox, Courtney Fells, Brandon Costner, and Cedric Simmons thoroughly, I decided to continue my career on the court, and then doing the 9 to 5 thing later on down the line.

 I really think (being a sports agent) is a great profession that really gives you an opportunity to stay around the game and also allows you to have a positive influence on young guys that want to do exactly what I'm doing currently, in order to better their situations. I especially feel this way when it is done for the love of the game and people, as in the case of Jamie Knox. The way he approaches the business is strictly for the two aforementioned reasons, and it is very inspiring to see how he goes about it. He's the main reason that I would love to get into that field one day, because he showed me the right way of going about representing players. 

WPH: You've recently signed with a team in Ireland. How has it been over there so far and, if you could, tell us a little bit about what's different playing over there compared to the States. (atmosphere...playing style...fans...etc.)

SimonIreland is amazing!!!! The people here are so welcoming and are new to the game so it's cool to be, in a way, influential here. The game of basketball really isn't huge in Ireland yet, it kind of has a cult following, if you will, and is growing rapidly. Especially with the younger generations. The playing style is a lot slower, but based a lot more in the fundamentals. All together, every training session (practice) is a blast. The people in this area are really growing into basketball fanatics and there is a lot of hype here now that my team has moved up to the highest division. The major thing I will say about my club is that these people really do this for the love of the game. Our organization is 100% funded by the community in which our team is based. It's amazing to see the passion and pride of the people in this small community. Everything for our club is done internally and is funded by private donation or fundraiser. 

WPH: What are some of your long term goals and where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?

Simon: Well, hopefully in the next couple of years I will still be playing some sport somewhere, but if that's not in God's plan for me I feel as if I would love to be on a collegiate sideline coaching, or joining the player representation aspect of the business. I just see myself being involved in sports in some way. I think sports are the best platform for young people to learn about life, be it from their coaches, teammates, or mentors inside their respective clubs. They gave me an outlet to do and become what I am today. I was always encouraged by my coaches and community members that I could go anywhere and see anything as long as I worked hard at it. 

WPH: So you've thought of following your dad's footsteps and getting into coaching college?

SimonI've wanted to be a collegiate or professional basketball coach ever since i was little. I can literally say that has been my number one aspiration since I can remember. I was the kid on the playground who would be analyzing things instead of the guy who wanted to score all of the points haha. I love interacting with people and love teaching as well. So I feel becoming a coach is a major possibility, and I have been blessed with very good contacts in the business, so I feel that it would be great to get into. I would really love it if I was afforded the opportunity to be on the staff at my Alma mater to be honest. i think that would be one of the biggest honors I could ever see myself attaining. 

WPH: Speaking of your dad, he is continuously being mentioned as one of the top recruiters in the nation. What are his secrets? How has he been so successful for so long?

SimonDad is so successful on the recruiting trail because he loves the game of basketball, therefore he doesn't see it as work. You'll find a lot of guys in the business dread hitting the road and tend to shy away from it as much as possible. Dad isn't like that at all! He knows it's all about personal relationships and being present as much as possible with recruits. Plus, he keeps it 100% real with players. A lot of schools try to sell guys dreams about playing time, the NBA, etc. Dad tells it like it is to players and I feel that guys really respect that. On top of that, he relates really well with younger guys because he was once in their shoes. He's played on every possible level there is in basketball and the best way to lead is by example. 

WPH: What are a few of your greatest memories and accomplishments while playing at State?

SimonI will say my greatest memory while playing at State was finally putting on the white and red uniform after transferring to NC State. My biggest goal throughout my childhood was to one day wear that uniform. I was proud to be a part of a program with so much tradition especially when guys like David Thompson (who I consider to be the best college basketball player of all time) wore a jersey with the same school across that front that I now was wearing. NC State is more than a university to me, it's more like a second home, I spent the summers of my childhood in and around the campus. So, when I was on the floor here I took every second of it as a blessing. 

WPH: We know that there has been a lot of ups and downs the past few years with the Wolfpack, and it has seemed to create a lot of media and fan backlash and some negativity surrounding the program at times. As a player can you talk about the influence of the fans, message boards, and media?

Simon I think the message board 'FANS' were amazing,  and when I say the word 'FAN' I mean the ladies and gentlemen that were consistently positive and supported us no matter what happened through the course of the season. The thing that people don't realize is that we (the players) are still children! Every single ounce of negativity guys hear or see affects us immensely internally, even if we didn't show it. So much so, that it is hard for me to even put into words to be honest. I couldn't tell you how many times I was ashamed of some of the things i would hear come out of the mouths of some of the people who followed our program.

WPH: Is there anything you'd like to say to the Wolfpack fans?

 SimonTo the fans of the Wolfpack, I will forever be grateful for the love and support you have given this team throughout all these years, through the good times and the bad. Also I really want to say thank you for the way you have accepted not only me and my father, but the rest of our respective families as well. You guys really have made Raleigh a second home for all of us and I really want to show my appreciation to all of you. I feel our program is back on track and the times of '74 and '83, are around the corner. 

We'd like to thanks Simon for taking the time to talk with us and for the honesty and transparency in his words. We'd also like to thank him for the three years he gave to the Wolfpack basketball program and to all of the fans. It's people like Simon, with the passion, the heart and respect for the game, that make basketball a fun game to watch. We will certainly keep in contact and keep all of you updated on Simon's season in Ireland and beyond. 


19 Responses to "Where Are They Now?: An Interview with Simon Harris"
  1. JJ said...
    October 6, 2009 at 9:28 AM

    Great Interview WPH!!

    I thought it was interesting to hear directly from a player what he thought about fans comments. The fact is these players have a lot of interaction with the outside world on a day-to-day basis. If the team is playing bad, you know they are going to hear it from their friends, students, fans, media outlets, etc. I hope that the wolfpack community can take Simon’s words to heart, so that we can keep all the negativity away from our basketball program. It does take a toll on our players, whether you think so or not.

    Good luck in Ireland Simon! I know you will bring a type of athleticism to the game out there that those fans have never seen!!

  2. Mike said...
    October 6, 2009 at 11:11 AM

    Love the interview!! Simon is a true class guy and I'm glad he's a part of the WOlfpack family!!

    Good luck Simon and come back to visit Raleigh every now and again!!

  3. Anonymous said...
    October 6, 2009 at 11:31 AM

    Good Luck Simon! We're all rooting for you!

  4. Anonymous said...
    October 6, 2009 at 12:33 PM

    I was in line with Simon at the DMV the day he was leaving for Ireland, and recognizing him I of course said something to him. Super nice and well spoken guy, immediately introducing himself to me and My girlfriend and talking about the team, his dad and coach Lowes recruiting successes as of late, etc.

    He will do well in life no matter what he does just based on his personality, which is clearly reflective of how he was brought up.

  5. redfred said...
    October 6, 2009 at 12:59 PM

    "I couldn't tell you how many times I was ashamed of some of the things i would hear come out of the mouths of some of the people who followed our program."

    By "followed the program", I wonder if Simon was referring to the folks who are always at the ready to spout off anything and everything that their negative minds can conjur up, while drifting closely alongside...in their big ol' boat...made of gopher wood?

    Sorry WPH, I just can't help myself sometimes.

    I always said that Simon Harris should have gotten more PT regardless of his stats. He was one player who gave it his ALL!!! whenever he was called upon. I think maybe that rather than Simon taking advice from some of the players that he listed, a few of those players would be served to look at Simon Harris' examples of attitude and determination. I'd pretty much bet on Simon making a go of it in Europe before some of those more physically gifted players.

  6. Lynda said...
    October 6, 2009 at 2:30 PM

    Simon is all that is right about NC State sports, and I hope we'll see a lot of him around the RBC Center in the years to come. Meanwhile, it sounds like he's really enjoying his experience in Ireland.

  7. j.sol said...
    October 6, 2009 at 5:38 PM

    excellent interview guys, simon has one of the biggest hearts in the world and if he does decide to pursue player representation in the future, jamie knox is one of the best in the business to learn under. jamie truly cares about people and it goes well beyond sports. simon is cut from that same cloth and he's going to make a very positive impact on the people around him wherever he goes.

  8. Anonymous said...
    October 6, 2009 at 10:33 PM

    I always liked Simon. He hustled, was tenacious on d, and always showed a lot of heart. I think remember an emphatic alley-oop highlight, last year or maybe '07?

    Sounds like he's going to do well whatever he does, I wish him the best in Ireland.

  9. Anonymous said...
    October 7, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    Great kid very nice wish him all the best in Ireland as well as down the road
    I am new here posting but love the site and would love to leave a donation! "You know there were a lot of up's and downs with the program theses last few years" Can you help me please tell me about the ups?

  10. Lynda said...
    October 7, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    Well, Anonymous, we beat Carolina, we beat Duke, we beat Wake Forest, we beat Boston College. Those were ups.

  11. etoy said...
    October 8, 2009 at 7:44 AM

    Those are "ups" in a season perhaps,but not in 4 years,maybe for a southern conference school but not for us.

  12. Anonymous said...
    October 8, 2009 at 9:38 AM

    ACC run was an up.

  13. Anonymous said...
    October 8, 2009 at 9:38 AM

    (ACC tournament run, i mean)

  14. Anonymous said...
    October 8, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    ^But that was not Sid's team? You can't use having herb's players as a negitive for Sid when his "up" side was with none of his players?

  15. Anonymous said...
    October 8, 2009 at 12:03 PM

    "^But that was not Sid's team? You can't use having herb's players as a negitive for Sid when his "up" side was with none of his players?"

    come on man, don't bring that crap in here. somebody asked what are the recent ups of the team (not sid's ups). and the acc tournament run was an up. has nothing to do with who were who's players.

  16. etoy said...
    October 8, 2009 at 1:00 PM

    I hate to admit it but face facts; There really have not been a great deal of up's if any on
    Sid's watch

  17. Anonymous said...
    October 8, 2009 at 2:50 PM

    ^once again, ACC tournament in '06-07 was an up. Simon was on the team.

  18. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    October 8, 2009 at 3:16 PM

    It's amazing that the phrase "ups and downs" can be scrutinized. Every win is an "up" and every loss is a "down." You can't argue with someone's personal experience.

  19. redfred said...
    October 8, 2009 at 5:00 PM

    One "anon" is claiming that Herb's players are the ONLY reason for any recent "up's" around here, and yet another "anon" is claiming that there haven't been many "ups" at all under Sidney Lowe.

    Funny, but to me, those two comments seem to compliment the hell out of one one another.


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