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2020 WNBA Draft Prospects: Five Things To Know About Tyasha Harris

Tyasha Harris | Point Guard | South Carolina | 5-Foot-10

Senior Season Stats: 33 GP, 28.7 MPG, 12.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 5.7 APG, 1.61 SPG, 42.6 FG%, 38.4 3P%, 85.7 FT%

Career Stats (2016-2020): 139 GP, 30.0 MPG, 9.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.61 SPG, 41.7 FG%, 32.8 3P%, 79.2 FT%

1. Pass-First Point Guard

There are many different types of point guards. You have the old school style – a player focused on initiating and facilitating the team offense, looking to set up teammates for scoring opportunities. You have the combo guard – a player that vacillates between being a facilitator and a scorer. Then you have the shoot-first style – often a supremely gifted scorer that often looks to take advantage of their own scoring opportunities and set up teammates off of those actions.

Tyasha Harris falls into the first category – she is a traditional pass-first point guard that looks to set up her teammates first before looking to create scoring opportunities for herself. And considering the level of talent surrounding her on the South Carolina rosters over the past four years, it makes sense that she would play such a role – a list that includes back-to-back WNBA Rookie of the Year winners, Allisha Gray (2017) and A’ja Wilson (2018).

She dished out a total of 189 assists as a senior (tied for 6th in the NCAA) and led the SEC with 5.7 assists per game (12th in NCAA). Not only does she generate a ton of assists, she also does so while limiting her turnovers, averaging just 2.06 per game this season. Harris’ 2.78 assist-to-turnover ratio ranked 10th in the nation this season. For her career, Harris has 702 assists (10th most in SEC history) and 275 turnovers for a 2.55 career assist-to-turnover ratio.

2. Synergy Stats Spotlight: Creator and Scorer

If we’re looking at individual play types, two that stand out for Harris are pick-and-roll ball handler (0.901 points per possession, 90th percentile of all NCAA players) and spot ups (1.0 points per possession, 87th percentile).

But to truly understand Harris’ impact, we have to look both at the possessions she ends herself (shot attempt, free throw attempt or turnover), but also the possessions that result in her assists, as her primary role is that of a facilitator. When looking at that combination of possessions and assists, Harris ranks in the 98th percentile generating 1.312 points per possession.

3. Brings What Her Team Needs

While much of the conversation surrounding Harris will be about her traditional point guard skills, she has proven that she can also put the ball in the bucket when she has to call her own numbers to score.

Harris averaged a career-best 12.0 points per game as a senior, as she has steadily increased her scoring over her four years with the Gamecocks (5.6 as a freshman, 10.4 sophomore, 10.9 junior). While she doesn’t boast the highest shooting percentages, she did make significant strides this season in her 3-point shooting as she shot a career-best 38.4% (38-99) from beyond the arc.

When combining her scoring and the points she creates with her assists, Harris accounted for 30.7 percent of the Gamecocks’ total offense, which averaged a school-record 82.0 points in 2019-20 as they finished the season 32-1 and rank No. 1 in both the AP and coaches polls.

Harris took over the starting point guard role in January of her freshman season as the Gamecocks won 84.3% (118-22) of the games in which she played – a run that included the 2017 NCAA national championship, two SEC regular season championships and three SEC tournament titles. And Harris was at her best against the toughest competition. In five games against opponents ranked in the top 10 this season, her numbers jumped to 17.0 points and 7.8 assists per game.

4. High Praise From Skylar Diggins-Smith

Along with racking up individual honors – three-time Al-SEC selection, consensus All-American, finalist for the Wooden Award and Wade Trophy – Harris has also earned the respect of her current and future peers.

In a recent Instagram Live Q&A with ESPN’s LaChina Robinson, Phoenix guard Skylar Diggins-Smith touted Harris’ talents and intellect and feels she is ready to make the transition from college to the WNBA thanks to her cerebral approach to the game.

As the saying goes “real recognizes real.”

5. Won The Award Named For Her Coach

Since 2013, the Phoenix Club of Philadelphia has presented The Dawn Staley Award to the most outstanding collegiate guard in the country; a player who exemplifies the skills that Dawn possessed during her career (ball handling, scoring, her ability to distribute the basketball and her will to win).

Past winners include: Skylar Diggins (2013), Odyssey Sims (2014), Tiffany Mitchell (2015), Moriah Jefferson (2016), Kelsey Plum (2017), Kelsey Mitchell (2018) and Asia Durr (2019) – all of whom are making their marks in the WNBA. Harris joins that group and was able to grow her game under the tutelage of the award’s namesake.

“It is a humbling thing each year to see the nation’s best guard be acknowledged as such with an award named after me, but this year it is a particular honor; The Dawn Staley Award going to a player I have had the immense privilege to coach over the last four years. Ty Harris is a special guard, a special player, a special person. She won a national championship as a freshman and spent the next two years working harder than any player in the country, honing her talents and quietly building one of the great careers in South Carolina history. This year it all paid off and the entire basketball world got to see her vision, her scoring ability, her tenacity and her leadership as she raised her team to be the best in the nation. I could not be more proud of this young woman and it is my distinct honor to recognize Ty Harris as the 2020 recipient of the Dawn Staley Award.”