Tobias Harris laughed as a third grader fired a 15-foot hook shot over the 6-foot-8 NBA player that went in. It brought a roar from the approximately 100 basketball summer campers on hand and a smile from the Long Island native.
The former star, back home after a breakout performance in the NBA Summer League, stopped by Northport’s athletic facility Thursday to talk and have some fun with the young campers.
“I love connecting with the kids,” said Harris, a forward with the Milwaukee Bucks. “I love talking to them.”
Harris, who just turned 20 and was the second-youngest player in the NBA as a rookie, averaged 21 points and eight rebounds in Las Vegas last month, an eye-opening five games that has everyone predicting big things ahead.
Harris, a McDonald’s All-American in high school, led Hills West to its first Suffolk championship in 2008 then transferred to Long Island Lutheran as a junior, where he guided the Crusaders to a state Federation Class A title in 2009. Harris returned to Hills West and capped his career with a Long Island Class AA championship in 2010.
He was drafted 19th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft after just one season at Tennessee, becoming the first Long Islander to be taken in the first round since Cold Spring Harbor’s Wally Szczerbiak was tabbed sixth overall in 1999.
It was a risk that worked out.
“I took the leap," Harris said. "I thought I was ready to go to the NBA. It paid off pretty well."
Now he's home for the rest of the summer, working out daily and taking time to talk to young basketball hopefuls.
Harris hosts the School of Business camp Aug. 20-24 at in Dix Hills.