By Gabriel Stovall
HAMPTON, Ga. — Kamera Harris was almost a national record holder two times over.
Last season, she eclipsed WNBA star Brittney Griner’s national high school blocked shots record when she recorded 28 swats in a 53-48 win against Veterans in the first round of last year’s state tournament.
This year, the 6-foot-3 Dutchtown junior almost had a repeat performance, once again in the state playoffs.
The Lady Bulldogs came up short against Mays, but Harris’ game was long on superlative-worthy highlights, capsulized in this ridiculous stat line: 10 points, 14 rebounds and — wait for it — 22 blocked shots.
To be sure, she wasn’t doing this against a guard-oriented team. The Mays Lady Raiders had a trio of six-footers, including 6-foot-5 senior Kennedy Rushin.
And Harris held her own, and then some.
She didn’t give herself much time to relish it, though. Less than a week after her last high school game of the season, Harris already had her sights set on the AAU season. She didn’t quite know, at the time, who she would play for. Maybe the Georgia Pearls. Maybe some of the other teams whose coaches have been trying to nab her.
“A lot of AAU coaches had been reaching out to my mom,” Harris said.
The attention is no longer new. She’s been pursued by quite a few good-sized programs since that fateful record breaking day 13 months ago. But we’ll get to that a bit later.
Spring and summer work comes first. And though Harris wasn’t immediately sure who she’d play for, she was positive about what she needed to work on.
“Offensively, I feel like my offensive game does not match my defensive game and my rebounding,” Harris said. “And most of all, it doesn’t match my confidence.”
By that, Harris means she knows she’s got skills that sometimes trump her personal assurance that she is well equipped to use them effectively.
“I’ve got post moves,” she says. “I’ve got good post moves, but I don’t use them like I should. I practice it, but I don’t do it.”
She continues her self-scouting report by comparing herself to senior forward Tiara Scott.
“Tiara gets about a good 16 rebounds a game,” she said. “And I’m not. Going into next year, my production won’t slide anymore. It just won’t.”
That’s the kind of resolution that makes a player wipe the tears of state Final Four defeat from her eyes quickly. Most of the tears she shed after the Mays loss weren’t necessarily for her, though.
They were for her teammates.
“I was really trying to do it for the seniors and for the rest of the team,” she said. “Not even myself. We wanted to get the win (over Mays) and get to the state championship game, but I was sorry that we couldn’t do it. But what we did was commendable, so I’m still happy.”
She’s referring to how the Bulldogs shook off an inconsistent — and perhaps underachieving — regular season to come within one game of playing for the big prize.
Now, Harris’ determination is a foreshadowing of the kind focus she says she wants to put on her senior year.
“I’ve got a lot of coaches that are recruiting me right now, but I’m still very open, and I don’t plan to commit any time soon,” she said.
Among the schools are Arizona, Mississippi State, Seaton Hall, Charlotte, North Florida, Western Kentucky, “and the list goes on,” she said.
“I wanna say it’s overwhelming,” she added. “But it’s not what I was expecting. And I don’t want to sound a certain type of way, but I’m not really thinking about it right now. That’s kind of not really my main focus. I’m just trying to be better for myself and my team.”