Merhaba! Fresh off a new start into 2010, I thought to hit you up with the latest buzz about German national team-player Elias Harris, who is now getting a lot of attention by both, German and U.S. media.

I attended once a game in 2006 between locals Eintracht Frankfurt and visiting BIS Speyer, where I spotted a talented forward playing great ball for the guests from Rheinland-Pfalz.

He knew how to use his athletic abilities to score but also how to make his teammates better by setting screens and by passing to the open player, which you didn’t see very often in the Regionalliga (Back then the third division).

Harris stood out and I felt, that he could develop into a pretty descent player by time although I never thought he would blossom into such a hyped player which he currently is at this very moment.

Jonathan Givony of the well respected Draft Express has put him into his mock draft for the 2010 NBA Draft and currently ranks him 15th in the first round while Chad Ford of ESPN has him on 19 which would mean a guaranteed contract for the high-rising forward from Speyer, Germany.

One year ago, he played in the third division called “Pro B” for home-town’s team BIS Speyer just to make surprisingly the cut last summer for the German senior national-team under coach Dirk Bauermann who is known to be counting much more on experienced players than rookies.

You wonder why Harris has been stuck in the third division?

Yes, NCAA eligibility rules were one reason but another is the following one:

Germany’s pro-basketball teams in the first division (“Basketball Bundesliga”) usually tend to hire U.S. American players (mostly out of college or with prior pro-experience) instead of German talents for their starting five (…heck, their rotation!), so Bauermann had to go down all the way to call up Harris and also the other promising young-gun called Robin Benzing (back then with TV Langen – Second Division), who got plenty of playing time with their respective teams.

Elias’ performances on the court for Germany in the continental championships in Poland were shaky at times, but he held his own against bigger names and showed already flashes of what he could develop into in the near future.

After receiving a lot of praise by the German basketball fans, it was time for Harris to head over the ocean to study and play in the state of Washington for the University of Gonzaga.

Normally, freshmen are not getting plenty of playing time in college basketball unless they have been big high school stars before, but Elias made his way into the starting five and is steady delivering for coach Mark Few’s Zags, and recently emerged as their top-scorer although being only in his first year in Spokane.


The German media (Even the popular yellow press) picked up on his recent success and delivered with various articles on his rising chances of making the NBA. The son of an American soldier who played hoops in Speyer is still developing his outside game as his shooting skills need to be polished, but his inside game is already speaking for him. “Elias got the best out of both worlds”, told Dirk Bauermann to a German news portal recently. Bauermann also noted: “He got his athletic skills from his dad while growing up in the European way of playing the game of basketball.” Mark Few, his coach at Gonzaga sees it pretty much the same way as he described Harris as pretty intelligent and very athletic for his size.

With so much praise, the outlook for the 20 year-old wing is looking bright, but could also leads to some problems for the German national-team if Harris decides to put his name into the upcoming draft.

Usually, players who are getting drafted in the first round tend to work out with the team over the summer and play in the “NBA Summer League” instead of preparing with their country’s national-teams. The summer league will be probably in late July while the World Championships are going down in late August. This could mean for Bauermann that he won’t be able to count on Harris in most of the team’s preparations. Bauermann already gave Harris the advice to stay another year in college basketball to work on his shooting but this could appear risky for Harris’ chances to make it to the NBA as the current hype surrounding him could be gone as early as next winter if he can’t live up to the higher expectations by then. An early departure would make his dream to play in the NBA come true but Bauermann has doubts about it as this might comes too early for Harris and which may result in a short NBA-career for the current power forward who has to switch to small forward if he makes it to the NBA.

Germany’s national team with Nowitzki, Kaman and Harris along with upcoming players as Schaffartzik and Benzing should be considered when talking about the quarters and semis in Turkey. Still, it will be a rocky road for the DBB to get Nowitzki, Kaman and (with all that problems that could be appearing) Harris to play together on one team this summer. Time will tell, and if I would be Harris, I would definitely put my name into this year’s draft to use the momentum.

I’m out like professional basketball teams from Germany.

Update: got Harris finally in its 2010 mock draft.{jathumbnail off}