Team: Miami Heat
College: Oklahoma State
Terrel Harris has made a strong initial splash at the sport’s highest level. Not only did the rookie wing make his first NBA roster this season, but he nailed down a spot on a veteran-stacked championship contender in the Miami Heat.
Harris has appeared in seven games so far, averaging 11 minutes in those contests. His output per 40 minutes is pretty impressive, averaging 13.2 points and 10.1 rebounds.
I had a chance to talk to Terrel after Sunday night’s demolition over the visiting Sixers. Let’s peel back the curtain on a promising rookie who’s living the dream for your Heat.
Playing on a championship contender, has “it” hit you yet?
TH: It’s hit me. It’s finally become a reality and not so much a dream. It’s my job now to produce and stay focused. I’ve kind of gotten the stars out of my eyes… Just the fact that I’m in the NBA, it’s a dream come true.
With so much veteran leadership on this team, how much knowledge do you soak in from these guys?
TH: I get stuff from everybody. I try to get small things from everybody. Juwan Howard, LeBron, D-Wade. J.J. [James Jones] and Mike Miller, I use them for shooting. I’m using these guys, really, Juwan, for professionalism.
How hard is it to prepare not knowing how much you will play?
TH: That’s where Juwan has helped me out a lot. Just be ready at all times. He does the same routine every single day no matter if he’s playing or not. I just watch that kind of stuff. You never know, so you prepare like you’re going to play 40 minutes a game. You just prepare yourself like that, it’s just a part of being a proffesional.
What are some of the main things Coach Spoelstra has you focused on?
TH: Perimeter defense and just not messing up plays. Just make sure you go in there and know the plays. You’re not playing as much, so the plays kind of get old to you. I do a lot of five on zero before shootarounds. Those are two of the main areas I try to focus on.
Have you learned anything from one of the best perimeter defenders in the league over the past decade in Shane Battier?
TH: Definitely. He helps me out because he calls out everything that every player does like: ‘Right hook, he’s going over his left shoulder.’ If he’s on the bench and I’m next to him, he’s calling out to the team what that guy does and his tendencies. He talked to me what he looks at as a defender. I try to use that because I take pride in my defense. He’s highly intelligent too.