Former Half Hollow Hills West star Tobias Harris hosted a group of about 25 high school basketball players who attended his basketball camp last summer in Westbury when the Pistons faced the Nets on Wednesday night at Barclays Center. It’s too bad the young players couldn’t hear Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy talk about Harris before the game because they would have learned the Islip native practices what he preaches.
“He’s a very mature guy, and he’s very professional in his approach,” Van Gundy said of Harris, who came into the game leading the Pistons with a 20.3 scoring average after Tuesday night’s win over the Knicks when he had 25 points and 10 rebounds. “He really takes care of himself and is ready to go. He’s always looking to get better. He looks at his game realistically, figures out where he needs to improve, and he works on it. He’s not an ‘excuse guy.’ ”
That mature, responsible approach to basketball and to life is what Harris strives to communicate to all those who attend his basketball camp. And a complementary trip to a Nets game is Harris’ way of letting the kids from his camp know he cares.
Describing the group Wednesday night, Harris said, “It’s a few kids I mentored from back home in the Westbury area that came out to our basketball camp this summer. We like to stay in touch and watch their progress as they go into this year.
“It’s great any time you’re able to give back, especially with kids from the Long Island and New York area. The opportunity to be an influence to them is awesome and just leading by example, working hard and doing the right things. The biggest thing I try to express to these kids is to work hard, keep your academics up and just show respect to everybody you come across.”