Name: Amber Harris
Position: Power Forward
School Bio: Amber Harris
Perhaps the most versatile player in this year's draft class is Xavier's Amber Harris. At 6-5, Harris has the ability to play inside while also hitting the three-point shot, and also keys the Musketeers' defense by averaging 2.2 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. A two-time Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, Harris combines with fellow senior and top 2011 WNBA Draft prospect Ta'Shia Phillips to form a dominating inside duo. In 30 games this season, Harris is averaging a double-double with 18.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.6 percent from the floor.
An athletic 6-5 forward who has both inside and out scoring abilities and is a very good rebounder.
Graham Hays, ESPN.com
Like any player, she has her strengths and weaknesses, but she is close to unique in how the entire package is assembled. There just aren't many 6-foot-5 players who are as comfortable off the dribble as she is, yet still manage to make enough of their size to average double-digit rebounds. Another year removed from the knee injury that cost her the 2008-09 season, she's blocking more shots and looking more confident. She has a chance to be as good as she chooses to be.
Xavier Worldwide Radio play-by-play
Staying at Xavier
Amber made her best decision and that made it the correct decision. She completely enjoys the Xavier experience and fell tenths of a second short of the 2009-10 NCAA Final Four, so there was significant motivation for her to return for her senior season to attempt to make it this season's Final Four in her hometown.
Amber has had a spectacular senior season, increasing both her points per game average and rebounds per game average by two. She's shown the ability and composure to score "big-moment" points and is using her athleticism to get to the foul line as well as create opportunities for herself and her teammates. She's an unmatched talent. She's far and away the most athletically gifted player on the floor in a majority of games.
The most impressive element of Amber's offensive game is her versatility. She is able to run the floor, slash from the wing or top of the key and operate in the post with equal, lethal effectiveness. She additionally displays excellent vision, passing ability and passing strength. She is often double and triple teamed and has displayed the vision and ability to defeat those schemes with well-timed passes. She also displays a consistent ability to beat defenses by identifying and attacking mismatches with a baseline fade-away, mid-range jumper, pull-up anywhere on the floor or three. Her ball skills are unmatched for a player her size. She is able to lead the break and apply her talents to both score and assist.
Amber certainly presents an imposing defensive presence. Her athleticism, ability to elevate and expansive reach certainly contribute to her impressive shot blocking. Balls she blocks often look as if they just stick to her fingers. It's interesting watching opponents facial expressions following an Amber block. Shooters often display a wry smile after falling short of challenging Amber, as if they knew they weren't going to get past her but tried regardless. She's also an asset in the half court. She has been effective trapping and hedging from the foul line to half court. She's an asset in from the foul line to baseline where she displays the excellent peripheral vision which helps her disrupt offenses by slashing through passing lanes and blocking shots. She's additionally effective at the point of the full-, three-quarter and half-court trap schemes. Amber has shown the ability to play long stretches with three or four fouls without being disqualified.
Amber leads with a quiet confidence. She'll calmly gather her teammates, make her points and get back to business. It seems also that she leads with a bit a humor as there are frequent smiles when the team is huddled on the floor. She also possesses a solid non-verbal dynamic with her teammates and often makes point with a simple glance.
Amber is one of the most natural athletes I've witnessed compete in any sport. I had the chance to see Ken Griffey, Jr., play high school baseball. He often appeared unchallenged by the game and I'd place Amber in that echelon. The most impressive portion of her development has been her ability to polish and refine her talent through the years. She combines excellent self-awareness with solid judgment while assessing and attacking any situation with which she's presented. Amber displayed solid resiliency in overcoming her knee injury and bouncing back from the tough physical contact she often sustains.
WNBA Fit and Comparisons
Amber will be an asset to any team because her athleticism and versatility enables her to fill many roles. Xavier's system is rooted in defense and rebounding, so WNBA teams will quickly learn she is committed to those elements of her game. Amber's game is similar to DeWanna Bonner, Tamika Catchings, Candice Dupree, Angel McCoughtry and Candace Parker.
- FAN ZONE