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Vols' Harris to test NBA draft waters

Tennessee freshman and former Half Hollow Hills star

Tennessee freshman and former Half Hollow Hills star Tobias Harris will enter the NBA Draft, but will not hire an agent, a decision which allow him to retain his college eligibility if he is not drafted. Credit: MCT

One and done? Yes and no.

The father of Tennessee freshman star Tobias Harris of Half Hollow Hills West said his son definitely will declare for the June 23 NBA draft "if he's a top 15 lottery pick," Torrel Harris told Newsday Monday night. "If he's top 15, he's gone. He's coming out."

In order to determine his NBA value, Tobias will declare for the draft April 24 and, during the NBA- and NCAA-approved two-week window, try to win the lottery. The 6-8, 225-pound small forward will not sign with an agent, his father said.

From April 24 through May 7, college players are allowed to work out for NBA teams but are not allowed to miss class time to do so. On May 8, when that window closes, players can pull out of the draft as long as they haven't signed with an agent.

"Tobias is testing the NBA waters," Torrel Harris said. "He can talk to NBA teams. He can work out. There are two weekends, so he can probably work out for four teams. We'd like to talk to at least 10 to see where he stands."

Harris, a three-time Newsday All-Long Island selection and two-time Long Island Player of the Year, averaged 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Volunteers. He scored 19 points in the school's first-round loss to Michigan in the NCAA Tournament.

Harris is considered a certain first-round pick, but opinions vary on whether he will be in the lottery. Some websites have him as low as No. 28 or No. 29 in the 30-team NBA. If the consensus is that he will fall that far in the first round, Torrel Harris said his son will remain at Tennessee, with one caveat.

"He won't transfer," the father said. "If he stays in college, he'll stay at Tennessee."

The Volunteers introduced new coach Cuonzo Martin Monday, and the former Missouri State coach and Purdue player said he is not afraid of possible NCAA sanctions stemming from infractions committed by recently fired coach Bruce Pearl.

Pearl's engaging personality and up-tempo playing style enticed the heavily recruited Harris to Tennessee. A McDonald's All-American, Harris received more than a dozen scholarship offers.

Whether he revisits any of those schools depends not only on his NBA draft status but also Tennessee's NCAA status. If Harris isn't a consensus lottery pick and the Vols receive sanctions or probation, Torrel Harris said his son will leave Tennessee. Under those circumstances, by NCAA rule, Harris could transfer and immediately be eligible.

But Torrel Harris is optimistic that his son won't have to take that step. "All the indications I get is that he's a lottery pick," Torrel said. "When teams work him out, they'll see he can shoot it, too. They know he can do everything else, but he didn't get to show how well he can shoot this year. But if NBA people say he's not a top 15 pick, then we will sit down as a family and analyze the situation."

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