Thunderstorm: Harris Thriving At DV

Wesley Harris doesn’t need to tell anyone how much his game has improved.

It’s evident in every Desert Vista statistical category.

The 6-foot-6 junior forward is a big reason why the Thunder have, no pun intended, stormed out to an 11-2 start following Friday’s hard-fought 50-47 overtime win against Gilbert.

Last season on an underperforming team Harris averaged five points a game. Through 13 this year he’s scoring at nearly 18 per contest. He also leads DV in rebounding, blocks and is shooting 66% from the field.

A key aspect in his growth as a player won’t show up in the box score.

“He’s emerging as a leader,” Thunder head coach Gino Crump said to Sports360AZ.com. “He’s definitely a leader in the stat sheets. He’s doing a great job for us.”

Harris worked hard last summer to improve his strength, ball handling and overall game while playing for his Compton Magic club team. His inspiration on the floor, and more importantly off it, comes from his biggest fan: his mom.

“Proper preparation prevents poor performance,” Harris said when asked what advice he’s taken from her. “She always tells me that.”

He’s also benefitted from playing and learning under Crump, a former NBA scout whose impact in his first season at Desert Vista is evident.

“Coach is keeping it real with us,” Harris said. “The chemistry, loyalty and trust. Don’t be selfish.”

It’s apparent colleges from around the country will be selfish to land the services of Harris as his “basketball ceiling” continues to rise in the next couple years. Portland State has already offered and the humble, well-liked teammate and student-athlete has interest Southern Utah, Central Arkansas, UC-Santa Barbara, San Diego State, Cal-Poly, UC-Davis and others.

For now his focus is helping lead the Thunder to a state championship, while continuing to make mom proud.

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.