LORAIN — After seeing Penn State recruiters everywhere she looked for the past few years — at her high school games, at open gyms, at AAU summer tournaments — Lorain High senior basketball standout Alex Harris got to know them pretty well.
After she visited the campus three weeks ago, she knew she wanted to keep seeing them, giving the Big Ten school her oral commitment that she’d be playing for them in 2013.
“Most colleges are all about basketball,” said Harris, a 6-foot-3 post player for the Titans. “(Penn State) said they wanted to improve everything about me and help me grow as a person. It wasn’t just basketball for them.”
Harris, who said she was seriously recruited by 15-20 schools, narrowed her choices to Penn State, Michigan and Louisville before choosing the Lions.
“She’s been heavily recruited by pretty much everyone since her freshman year,” Lorain coach Mark Feldmann said. “It’s been a lot of fun for us and for her, but it’s kind of nice that it’s died down and she can concentrate on just playing basketball her senior year.”
Feldmann was impressed with the Penn State coaches’ approach to recruiting, saying they did the “all-around most comprehensive job.”
“They did a good job of developing a relationship with her,” he said. “I feel good and I know her mom feels good that she’s going to be in a good place, a place that wants to see her succeed on the basketball court and in the classroom.”
Harris, who is the No. 46-ranked recruit in the country by ESPNHoopGurlz, averaged 11.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and five rebounds a game last season for the Titans, who went 17-5 and advanced to a Division I district semifinal.
Asked the biggest thing she needs to work on, Harris said: “My outside game. My jumper.”
Feldmann has seen Harris improve by leaps and bounds since her freshman year, especially on the defensive end.
“There was a time she was just a tall, athletic kid,” he said. “Her offensive and defensive game has really evolved.”
Defense is where Harris really shines and the part of the game she likes the most.
“Blocking shots,” she said when asked her favorite part of playing defense.
But Harris isn’t just planted underneath the basket, Feldmann said.
“She can really get down low and she can guard people down low,” he said. “You might think she’d be a matchup problem for us, but she turns into a matchup problem for other people. Over the last couple of years she’s thrived on defense more than she used to. Now it’s like she can go out and pretty much guard anybody.”
Harris plans to major in sports medicine and would like to be a physical therapist.