He went from student to teacher, from follower to leader, from role player to “The Guy.”
The trip has also earned Cameron Harris the Player of the Year Award.
Leading his team with a 20.6 scoring average, Harris also led the Athenians in rebounding and steals, and his assists were second-best.
All from the player whose role changed dramatically from his junior to season seasons.
One of three scoring leaders as a junior, there was no question who was going to have to get the points for this year’s team.
“Being the go-to guy can have you playing mind games with yourself,” Harris said, “and sometimes you can start putting too much pressure on yourself. My teammates were outstanding on helping me focus on what was needed and always supported me no matter what was going on. Senior season really gives you a different mindset. Your work ethic goes to an all-time high because there is no next year. You have one shot each day and night and for me I just made sure I was making the most of everything. I tried to work harder than ever and tried to have fun while doing it.”
Harris also has had a high-profile support system backing him up, and not just this season.
“I don’t even know where to begin thanking my mom and dad (Jay and Shelly Harris), he said. “My mom is known as the lady who yells at me and she has moved down the steps sometimes to make sure I can hear her, but what people don’t always see is that she is always loving and supportive. I wouldn’t even be close to what I am today without her. My dad has always been the guy I could go to for help or anything else. He knows the game so well, and he has fed me so much of my basketball knowledge. Before every game I would get a text from him, and I took every one of them to heart because he and they meant so much to me. One of my goals was to make my parents proud. They have sacrificed so much for me and I know I will never be able to thank them enough.”
My grandma and grandpa (Jill and Mike Shubert) have also been two of the most supportive people I know. Grandma is always there with love and treats, and Grandpa has been helping me get better since 4th grade, when he coached some of my teams or helped get gyms open to shoot. They are also a huge part of my success. They are the tip of my Crawfordsville basketball family, which is absolutely incredible. I’m so happy for the team — they are a great group of guys that always sticks together, and the school I play for. The fans are awesome. They are all part of this award.”
Harris, who during the season became the ninth member of the Crawfordsville boys 1,000 point club, and finished his career with 1.082 points, third best all-time, noted current Athenians coach David Pierce.
“Cameron is a very special player,” Pierce noted. “Through hard work and dedication, he was able to become a very skilled basketball player who led the County in most statistical categories. His athleticism didn’t come as easy as maybe other athletes or even his brothers. He created and developed everything he became.”
“While his statistical achievements are amazing, the best part of Cameron is who he is as a person. He is competitive, driven, goal-oriented and fun to be around.”
“Coach Pierce has done so much for me,” Harris said. “Any time I needed help with anything he would always drop whatever he was doing and be there for me. The love and support that I have received from him is something I thought I’d never be able to receive and doesn’t stop because I no longer play for him. We have gotten closer since basketball season and our relationship keeps getting stronger and stronger. I am beyond thankful to have played for him throughout my high school career.”
Those feelings went both directions.
“Cameron’s legacy will be remembered for a long time,” Pierce said. “His impact on this world as a man with character, integrity and drive will have a far larger and lasting impact on this world than anything he has done or will do on the basketball court. Jay and Shelly Harris have raised three incredible men that were really good basketball players but even better men.” Congratulations to Cameron on a well-deserved award.”
Along with Pierce, Grandpa and Dad, there was another coach.
“My old AAU coach, Ben Gibbs, helped me make the most improvements,” Harris said. “He was always making sure I was staying in the gym and working my tail off. He never let up or let me take it easy, and I am thankful for that.”
There is also basketball in the future for this Player of the Year.
Just this week, Harris committed to Franklin College, where he will continue his hoops career into the collegiate level.
It continues a long tradition of basketball in the Harris family.
“I’ve been playing basketball for as long as I can remember,” Harris said. “It is the sport of my family; growing up in the Harris house meant you were destined to play basketball. It meant getting up at 8 in the morning for a workout and travel ball. My family made sacrifices while I tried to get better and improve each time out. I was blessed with teams from the past, whose experience I leaned on. This year I tried to be that experienced guy that others could lean on. My coaches and teammates believed in me and without everyone, I wouldn’t have had the season I was able to have. This award is an absolute honor, just like it was an absolute honor to be a part of this team.”