Entering his senior year in High school Julian Harrell was ranked (CalHi Sports) the #19 basketball recruit in the state of California and the recruiting target of traditional West Coast powers Cal, Gonzaga, and Stanford. His ’11-’12 play (14.2 pts, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists) fell (statistically) off a bit from his junior campaign, but his Loyola High squad went an impressive 26-6 and alongside sophomore standout Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Harrell was a key and season long contributor. The question thus begs asking. Why Penn?
Well, technically there is no Letter of Intent for Ivy league schools, but my commitment to Penn had a lot to do with the relationship I have with the coaching staff and with current players on the team. I wasn’t only comfortable with the basketball team, but with the quality of education and the connections that I will make from attending such a prestigious university.
The lure of a guaranteed Starting spot or significant minutes often sway the opinions of otherwise uncertain recruits. Not the case with Mr. Harrell:
At Penn one earns their playing time. I’m just looking forward to getting down there and to start competing and earning my time. It won’t be easy but I’m ready to put in the work because I want to be a major contributor as soon as possible.
When asked to summarize his game the Ivy League bound hooper made clear his priorities:
I always bring intensity, a will to win, and basketball IQ. I always try to make the winning play…if that is me scoring or if it’s me setting up a teammate, it doesn’t matter. I just really want to win.
Playing time should come quick for the Loyola High star. Harrell is an above average athlete and effective above the rim. He is quick off the dribble and holds a number of consistently effective finishing moves. It appears he is comfortable and effective scoring through contact and can score with both hands. At 6’5 197lbs he should prove a difficult match-up for most Ivy League defenders. Improved consistency from beyond the arc would add to Harrell’s effectiveness and force defenders to play him close. His agility and athleticism should secure the advantage in those situations. Although effective on the offensive end, Harrell’s most significant contribution may come as a defensive stopper. Long arms and quick reflexes generate a decent number of tipped passes, steals, and blocks, and should insure Harrell sees decent to significant ’12-’13 playing time.
As mentioned, Harrell’s stats dropped a bit his senior year, but nothing appears worthy of alarm. FG% dipped from 54% (junior) to 48% (senior) as did success at the Free Throw line (junior 72%, senior 59%). I expect both areas to improve in the fundamentally sound Penn via the tutelage of Quakers Head Coach Jerome Allen. There was a marked improvement in 3pt efficiency (junior 7%, senior 32%). The senior production is not eye-popping, but the jump in success rate is very encouraging. What Harrell will lack in D1 experience should be countered by his strong work ethic and desire to improve. His frame is all but D1 ready and I doubt there will be much difficulty for Harrell adjusting to the physicality of the Ivy League. Success in LA’s hyper-competitive High school basketball scene should bode well for Harrell’s early collegiate impact opportunities. Having grabbed a High school CIF title, Harrell is also targeting team success at the D1 level. “I want to win the Ivy League and make the Tournament. Ultimately, that is the only goal that matters.” Couldn’t have phrased it better myself.