Virginia Cavaliers Basketball Player Profile: Joe Harris

Joe Harris' all around offensive game will be important for a Hoos team that will lack playmakers on offense. - Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

With the departure of Mike Scott, Joe Harris is the team's best player. He is the leading returning scorer and 2nd leading returning rebounder. And with the injury to Jontel Evans, Harris may be the starting PG as well.

It makes a lot of sense to start these features with Joe Harris, who is our best player. Harris is the leading returning scorer and 2nd leading returning rebounder. And that is after playing half the season with a broken hand.

Joe is a 6'6" 211 pound junior swing man. He can play the 2 or the 3 equally well. With the injury to Jontel Evans, Joe is going to have to play some PG as well, a position he isn't ideally suited for but he can handle in a pinch.

Joe's biggest strength is his shooting ability. He led the team a year ago at 38% from 3 point range. He shot 44% on all field goals and 77% from the FT line. Joe's eFG% (which accounts for the extra point on the 3point shot) was 53.5%. Once again, keep in mind that he played half the season with a broken hand. As a freshman, he shot 42% from the 3 point line, giving him an eFG% of 54.5%. He also got to the line a lot more as a sophomore than as a freshman. That trend should continue with his hand being healthy. (Thanks kenpom.com for the stats.)

As a shooter, Joe is best either in transition or on kick-outs, when he can set his feet. When he has to create his own shot, he isn't nearly as effective. Of all the players on the team, he'll probably be the most negatively affected by the absence of Jontel Evans. First of all, as I noted, Harris will have to play some PG, a position he really shouldn't be playing. Second, without Jontel's ability to drive and kick, Harris is going to find much less space on the perimeter.

Joe isn't really a high flyer, but he certainly is athletic enough. He has the ability to get to the rim off the dribble at times, and he can finish when he gets there. But more than that, he is very adept at moving without the ball. He cuts well and a lot of his inside points come off those cuts. Last year's home win over Clemson displayed the best of Joe's offensive abilities. (First a kick out 3 at the 0:50 mark, followed immediately by a rebound and putback, a couple of 3 coming off screens at the 2:10 and 2:30 marks, and a transition 3 at about the 3:00 mark.) If you want to see Joe's full arsenal, check out some highlights from his senior year of HS.

As a defensive player, his best asset is his IQ. He knows where he is supposed to be, and what to do when he is there. His lack of elite athleticism keeps his block and steal numbers down, but he is a capable defender in Tony Bennett's system.

All told, Joe is great complimentary piece, but really not suited to be the best player on a good team. For the Hoos this year, Joe will often end up being the primary option on offense, and his ability to put points on the board will be a play a big role in the overall success of the team.

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