When it comes to having a perfect season, Kevon Harris’ was as close as you can get.
Among the aspects that made it near perfect, he became SF Austin’s all time leading scorer, upset the #1 team in the country, and took home the conference player of the year award. Add this to a 28-3 record and a regular season conference championship with a 19-1 record and the only thing that could have made it better would be a conference tournament championship and an NCAA tournament championship (both which he obviously couldn’t control).
I talked to Harris about his time at Stephen F Austin, the upset game against Duke, and the next steps in his career. Feel free to listen to the audio version or read the written version below.
1) Coming out of High School, what made you choose SF Austin?
Kevon Harris: I was at prep school in Florida, and I was thinking about going to LSU or Texas A&M. Coach (Kyle) Keller was at A&M at the time, my head coach at SFA. He left there and got the head coaching job at Stephen F Austin. We had a great relationship and bond so I went over there with him. I wanted to come in and play right away and have an impact with a winning culture team and be able to come in and do me.
2) Since freshman year, your stats have improved greatly. What part of your game have you worked on the most to get to this level?
Kevon Harris: I would say working on my shot, consistency in shooting the ball better. I couldn’t shoot as well coming into college and was more of a driver so I worked on my all around game which included shooting.
3) Did you ever think about transferring after your junior year coming off a career year and potentially going to a Power 6 school?
Kevon Harris: Actually, I declared for the draft my junior year. I was actually planning on leaving and staying in the draft but I decided to come back. We had a bad year my junior year so I didn’t want to leave on that. I just wanted to come back another year at SFA and leave with the all time scoring record, have a winning season, and make it to the tournament.
It’s a big decision and I’ve thought about it before but everything I could have done there I can do it here. You don’t have to be at a Power 5 to play in the NBA or play pro basketball. Staying here is where I felt I built the culture at and had a great career there.
4) What was your reaction when your conference and NCAA tournaments were canceled? Did you agree with the decision?
Kevon Harris: It was devastating for sure. We had a chance at probably a 10 or 11 seed in the tournament so to hear that hurt. We had big plans and were talking about making the Elite 8 and Final 4 and just making noise in the tournament so it definitely hit hard.
I felt like we could have kept playing at the time for sure, but once the conference tournaments stopped I knew it was just a matter of time. I felt like they could have done no fans and just played but that was there choice.
5) Your win against Duke was one of the biggest storylines of the season. What was the atmosphere like throughout the game and after?
Kevon Harris: It was surreal coming out there and getting a win in that atmosphere and one of the biggest and hardest places to win at. To come in there and get a win and show the world what we could do was big for sure. It was wild. I felt like we were being slept on even throughout the season. Coming in being a mid-major they thought they were going to have it easy but we knew we had a chance to win and we wanted to come in and play like it and come out with the win.
6) What was your reaction when you found out you won the conference player of the year? Were you expecting it?
Kevon Harris: To be honest, yeah I was expecting it. I felt like I should have gotten it last year too but we didn’t have the season we wanted so that affected it. It was amazing and I’m honored for sure and am ready for the next chapter. I found out in the gym.
I don’t really remember but I think we had gone through practice and I’m usually the last one in the gym and I came back from shooting and everyone was in the locker room about to leave and then they started shouting “player of the year! player of the year!”. The team was hyping me up and showed some love and that’s how I found out and then I looked online and saw it.
7) What was the better moment for you, winning player of the year or winning the conference?
Kevon Harris: Winning the conference for sure. That was something I really had my mind on and had my mind set on going out as a champion and that’s what I had to get done. To lead the team was great for sure so I would say winning the conference for sure was the better moment.
8) Who is one player you modeled your game after?
Kevon Harris: I wouldn’t say I modeled my game after anybody, but I’ve heard I have similarities in my game to Lance Stephenson and Jaylen Brown in terms of impact on both ends of the court and having a big body, shooting the ball well, and driving the ball. I would say one of those two are somebody my game relates to that I’ve heard.
I loved watching Kobe, Lebron, the all time goats. I watched Lance Stephenson growing up, I liked his demeanor on the court. I felt like his presence was felt at all times regardless if he had 20 or 5 (points).
9) Now that you’ve graduated, what are your plans for next season? Has COVID affected these plans at all?
Kevon Harris: Right now I’m in the draft. The NBA draft is supposed to happen in October. I’m really just training everyday and get ready for what’s next. COVID has pushed back my plans tremendously. They don’t even know if they’re having a combine anymore, they haven’t had any workouts. I’ve been doing a lot of virtual interviews with teams and that’s pretty much it. Hopefully they have this combine and they start doing some workouts soon so I can get some direction.
We’re supposed to have a combine coming up in early September so I’ll be doing workouts in a bubble, so that’s the only information I have. I’m waiting day by day like everybody else. In the beginning of the whole pandemic, I had access to the gym, so that didn’t affect me much and didn’t stop me from getting in the work for sure.
10) What is one part of your game you want to improve on as you head to the next level?
Kevon Harris: That’s a good question. I would say just being more consistent and being more effective on both ends. I want to expand my pick and roll and work on that every day and shooting the ball consistently at a high level. I feel like that can translate tremendously. I’m just want to be ready for what’s next.