Indiana completed a busy week of state visits with Virginia-based ranger Dee Shaun Harris-Smith, who arrived Thursday night in Bloomington and left on Saturday.
Hoosiers just showed off the 6-foot-5 bouncer a few weeks ago and were able to bring him onto campus for a junior official.
The Daily Hoosier caught up with Harris-Smith to summarize his time on the IU campus. You can read the full questions and answers below.
TDH: Apparently the state of Indiana started recruiting you very recently. Tell us what you already knew about the program before you arrived on campus?
DHS – I just knew it was a historic college basketball program. They had a lot of victories in the day, so almost like blue blood. That’s really all I know.
TDH: Do you know any of the current coaches or players on the team prior to your arrival?
DHS – I’ve known Xavier (Johnson) because we’re from the same place and when he gets home, we train together.
(Note: Johnson and Harris Smith are from the same AAU – Team Takeover on the Nike EYBL circuit.)
TDH: What is one or two things that really caught your eye while you were in Bloomington?
DHS – The one thing that really impressed me was how everyone was talking about how amazing and broad the people of Indiana are, helping them (the players) to be better at what they have to do. They were just saying that the relationships they built will last a lifetime, people are really great and everyone just wants to see each other well.
Another thing that was really impressive, I met a bunch of people on campus, not only like people who help out with basketball, but I met the athletic director and a whole bunch of people you don’t normally meet on visits.
TDH: Is there anyone outside of the show you met who really stood out about you?
DHS – Yeah, athletic director (Scott Dolson), figured out how much he cared about the basketball program. When he was looking for a new coach, he wanted someone to help Indiana have a great team title, with great people on the team, help the team become guys, and things like that. He wasn’t just about basketball, and he seemed like he was really interested in the basketball program even though he was supervising everything, he seemed like he was really invested in the basketball program. He used to be a manager (at IU), and he still loves basketball, and you can tell the show holds a special place in his heart.
TDH: First time sitting deep with IU coach Mike Woodson, what’s your impression of him?
DHS – He’s just a very real guy. Everyone on campus was just praising how kind he is to this guy. He doesn’t catch himself with anyone there. All the assistants there were making fun of him, making jokes. He doesn’t maintain some kind of celebrity status, he just thinks of himself like everyone else and treats everyone fairly.
TDH: Does his background in the NBA as a player and coach mean anything to you?
DHS – Definitely my 34 years in the NBA as a player or coach means a lot to me because that’s where I want to go as well. That’s my ultimate goal is to get into the NBA, so someone who’s seen it as a player and coach, has seen a lot of great players, a lot of people in the shoes I’m trying to fill in, it’s definitely amazing. Trained by someone like that.
TDH: Did the coaching staff sit down and watch the movie with you? And what do they tell you about how they see you fit into their system?
DHS – They unpacked a few things of their own, with their style of play. There was a group of coaches when they did that. They want to play fast, and I feel better with the transition, having the ball for my teammates. And he (Woodson) loves the big bouncers, and with Galen (Hood-Chevino) there, they feel I can play a similar role to him, like a group that can play on or off the ball, and have the ball screen read.
And then I think my biggest asset is defense. He likes people who can switch, and I feel like that’s the best of me, being able to protect one to four in high school, and I feel like I can protect one to three, maybe one to four at the next level.
TDH: Going on your game for a minute, watching you in Georgia last week, your ability to bounce off the guard position was really outstanding. What makes you want to be so aggressive on the board?
DHS – I just feel like this has always been built into me. Like just making accusations, doing whatever it takes to win. I know my team was lacking in rebounds, so I try to bounce. And that’s how I start in games, if I have a good game in the bounce wise, the points will come, the assists will come, and everything will follow. At the start of the match, I just remind myself ‘Just go get the ball’ and get the rebounds, and that’s a way to keep me going. Every time I got 10 rebounds in Peach Jam, I had more than 10 points, so it all connected.
TDH: Was something on the campus, academics or facilities that made an impression?
DHS – The campus was huge, and it was one of the largest I’ve visited. Most of the other schools I’ve been to are small, so Indiana would give me a good college experience. It is definitely a college town. The campus was great, and it was great to see all the fraternity and junior roles, they were huge. The soccer field is right next door, having a decent basketball and soccer team is great and can give you a complete actual college experience.
TDH: What did Xavier Johnson tell you about Indiana?
DHS – He said he thinks it’s a great place for me because it feels like Coach Woodson is preaching the same thing as the Takeover team, like pushing the ball and playing defense, and he knows I excel at that because I’ve been excelling at that in Takeover, so if the program is doing the same The thing is, I feel like I could do that in college.
TDH: Has your mother gone with you on your other visits, and what was her reaction to this visit?
DHS – She’s been on every visit with me, and after Indiana she’d say she definitely feels like she can get me there, and feels like I’m taking care of her. She said she could easily fall asleep knowing I’m in Indiana, because she knows the people there really care about you and want to see you succeed on and off the field.
TDH: Do you care about the school’s proximity to your hometown in the recruitment process?
DHS – It happened in the beginning, but with NIL and the opportunities I will have at the next level, I will be able to take care of my mom, and bring her to the games. So if that’s true, it doesn’t really matter the distance, I just want to be able to bring it to the games, so if I can bring it back and forth it would be perfect.
TDH: Do you have any other visits planned, and when would you like to decide?
DHS – I don’t have any other visits planned, and I’d like to do so by the end of August.
TDH: Is there a major group of schools recruiting you right now?
DHS – The five most conscripts are Pennsylvania, Xavier, Villanova, Maryland, and Indiana.
TDH: And you’ve now gone to all five of those schools, right? Is it fair to say that you are now in a decision-making position?
DHS – Yes, I’ve now gone all five, and yes, it’s fair to say.
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