Harris appointed at OU

By Tim Rath

Sports Editor

Photo courtesy: Harris Family

Karli Harris drives the lane during a fast break in a game at Fishers High School in Fishers, Ind. “I think I can help in the transition game immediately,” she said. “If and when I get time.”

Although she stands a mere five-feet-three-inches tall, Karli Harris is ready to play the point like a giant.

“She’s always been a vocal leader on and off of the court,” her mother, Micci Harris said.

“As a point guard, she doesn’t need to be told where to go and what to do. She’ll definitely give and get respect from her teammates right away.”

Harris, a product of Fishers High School in Fishers, Ind., has dominated since she took the floor as the varsity team’s starting point guard two years ago. She holds the school record for career points with 492, career assists with 140 and career steals with 218.

Her head coach at Fishers, Michael Gaines, said that he’s been aware of her potential since the first day he met her.

“Her explosive athleticism and competitive fire were striking. I was initially skeptical because of her short stature, but she is a testament to the idea that size doesn’t matter in the game of basketball,” he said.

Oakland University head coach Beckie Francis seems to agree. She said that Harris can compete for time as early as her freshman season.

“Obviously, with Riikka [Terava] graduating after this season, we’ll have a hole in at point guard,” she said. “Stacey [Farrell] will be there, but Karli will be there as well, fighting for time.”

Harris turned heads of more than just the coaching staff. Ted Schultz, a sports reporter for The Indianapolis Star, said that he expected Harris to be signed by a larger school than OU.

“She’s a great defender — she’s quick and she gets a ton of steals. She can drive to the basket and she’s a good passer. I knew she had D-1 game, so I wasn’t surprised to hear that she got a scholarship. In fact, I thought she could have played for a bigger school.”

Gaines said that her personality, in addition to her playing skills, made her a great fit for OU.

“She has brought a vibrant life and energy to our program that has sparked us to find early success,” he said. “Karli will undoubtedly bring a fun-loving and highly competitive spirit to OU. Beckie Francis has found an absolute gem in Karli.”   

In addition to playing time, Harris will also be fighting for time to study. She was active in her community at Fishers, doing work with the National Honors Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Micci said that she expects her daughter to keep up her extracurricular record as a Golden Grizzly.

“She only knows one speed,” Micci said. “She doesn’t know how to turn it off. If she sees something, she goes after it. She sees things in black and white — she knows her goals and what not to do.”

Karli, who plans on studying medicine at OU, said that both the basketball team and the school made it an easy choice to go to OU.

“I stayed with [Hanna] Reising and Melissa [Jeltema] when I came to visit and they just made me feel so welcome,” she said. “I’m looking forward to playing with them and going to school there. It was just the best fit for me.”