By Gabriel Stovall
HAMPTON, Ga. — There was no need for Signing Day drama for Kamera Harris.
Not just because the Dutchtown senior center, and national high school shot blocking record holder had already made known her commitment to the legendary Tennessee Lady Vols basketball program a week ago, but because her signing the letter of intent during a signing day ceremony Wednesday at Dutchtown was the realization of a lifelong hoop dream.
“She always has wanted to play for Tennessee,” said April Tate, the former Dutchtown girls basketball coach who tutored Harris for three of the years she played at the school. “Since day one, that’s been the place she’s wanted to go.”
So much so that Harris found it difficult to concoct a top five, or even a top three list of schools.
“Um, I liked Wisconsin,” she said, after a moment of hesitation. “I liked College of Charleston, Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State. But when Tennessee came into the picture, I already knew. And at that point there was no need for a top three and top five. There was only one at the end of the day.”
Harris said her love affair with the Lady Vols began back when she was a sophomore. This was before she set the single game shot blocking record with 28 swats in a state tournament playoff game in 2014.
And, according to Tate, the interest began even before the 6-foot-3 post player was good enough to even be considered by the program once led by legendary women’s hoops coach, Pat Summit.
“It was early in her sophomore year when she said, ‘Coach Tate, can you contact Tennessee for me,’” Tate said. “And then I was like, well I do have a small bit of a reputation, so until you start to improve, then we’ll talk. But we eventually contacted Tennessee, and we still have that first letter that told her if she continued to do what she was supposed to do, she’d be one of the top post players they’d recruit. And just look at how God worked things out for that to happen.”
Harris said in addition to Tate, her other coaches and teammates, she’s got to give the biggest assist to her mother and brother, Jordan Harris, who starred as an offensive lineman at Dutchtown, and had been instrumental in her recruiting process.
“They are, no doubt, my biggest supporters and and biggest critics,” Harris said. “I’m more than blessed to have them. It makes me emotional. Not a lot of people have that kind of support. It’s crazy. I love my mother and brother to death.”