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Devin Harris

Devin Lamar Harris (born February 27, 1983) is an American professional basketball player for the NBA's New Jersey Nets. Harris attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and gained national attention for his play at the collegiate level.

Harris was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the son of Terry and Julie Harris. Throughout high school, Harris was a superior athlete and took up basketball and volleyball at Wauwatosa East High School. He only played volleyball for one season, a season in which he gained all-conference honors, before he set that aside to focus on basketball. Harris was nagged by injuries after his sophomore year of high school and was unable to participate in the summer basketball camps and tournaments that are ever important in the recruiting process. Harris' number 20 jersey was retired by Wauwatosa East at ceremonies held in 2007.[2]

Harris exploded his senior season at Wauwatosa East, setting school scoring records through an undefeated regular season. Harris was named Wisconsin's "Mr. Basketball" for 2001, edging out Travis Diener of Fond du Lac High School. Harris finally accepted an offer to play for Dick Bennett at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bennett retired in the midst of the upcoming season and by the time Harris arrived on campus, Bo Ryan was the head coach.

NCAA career

In Harris's freshman season, the 2001–2002 season, Harris was already a starter on a relatively unheralded team. The Badgers came into the season being predicted to finish as low as ninth in the Big Ten Conference (which has eleven teams). On a team led by seniors Charlie Wills and Travon Davis, the Badgers won an unexpected Big Ten Championship (shared with three other teams: Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio State University).

Harris' sophomore season was his "breakout" year. Harris, along with senior Kirk Penney and fellow sophomore Mike Wilkinson, led the Badgers to their second consecutive Big Ten Championship. In the NCAA Tournament, the Badgers reached the "Sweet 16". In the Sweet 16 game against the University of Kentucky, Harris showcased his skill before a national audience, despite an eventual Badger loss.

The 2003–2004 season saw Harris establish himself as one of the top players in the nation. Harris was the leader on the team and was considered a "coach on the floor" by Bo Ryan.[3] He received Big Ten Player of the Year and the Silver Basketball award, and was named a Second Team All-American. Harris decided to leave college early after his junior year to play in the NBA.


Draft day

Days prior to the draft, the Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks consummated a deal that involved the Wizards' 5th overall pick going to the Mavs along with Jerry Stackhouse and Christian Laettner in exchange for Antawn Jamison. NBArules prevented teams from trading draft picks for two consecutive years (in addition to trade kicker details in Laettner's contract[4]) so the deal was momentarily delayed until the actual draft in which Washington selected Devin Harris and subsequently traded him to the Mavericks to complete the deal. The Mavs' plan was to bring Harris along slowly under the tutelage of all-star point guard Steve Nash but Nash ended up leaving the team through free agency and signing with the Phoenix Suns.[5]

Dallas Mavericks

In Harris' rookie season, he averaged 5.7 ppg and 2.2 apg, but put up a PER of 14.69. Also, he ranked 2nd in the NBA in steals per 48 minutes at 3.15 (behind Larry Hughes), and in November 2004 was named the got milk? Rookie of the Month. Although he started for much of the early portion of the season, his playing time dwindled as the season progressed.

Harris showed marked improvement in the early stages of the 2005–06 NBA season, especially when it came to scoring; as a result, his minutes increased and he took more ball-handling responsibilities from Jason Terry. He is known for his exceptional speed, earning comparisons to other NBA guards like the Phoenix Suns' Leandro Barbosa and his good friend, the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade.[1] He ended the year with averages of 9.9 ppg and 3.2 apg. He improved his jumpshot and his ability to split defenses and get to the rim. Unfortunately, he sustained a leg injury midway through the year and missed most of the rest of the regular season. Harris returned for the playoffs and played a huge role in toppling the Mavericks' long time rivals, the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs had dominated the Mavs in recent playoff history, ending their playoff runs in 6 games in the 2003 Playoffs and 5 games in the 2001 Playoffs. In Dallas' 7-game series against the Spurs, Harris averaged 12.8 points, including a streak of 20, 24 and 18 points in three Mavs wins that wrestled control of the series away from the Spurs.

In the 2006–07 season, Harris averaged 10.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.

After Harris became the starting point guard for the Mavericks in 2006–07, he helped lead the Mavericks to a team record of 67 wins in the regular season only to be upset by the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors in the 2007 Playoffs. Halfway through the 2007–08 season, Harris was averaging career highs with 14.4 points per game and 5.4 assists per game. He was named a co-captain in 2007–08 along with Dirk Nowitzki.

New Jersey Nets

On February 19, 2008, he was traded to the New Jersey Nets along with signed and traded Keith Van Horn, Trenton Hassell, DeSagana Diop, Maurice Ager, $3 million cash and 2008 and 2010 first-round draft picks in exchange for Jason Kidd, Malik Allen, and Antoine Wright. In a situation that is the polar opposite of his "groomed for the future" role with Dallas, Harris is now considered the future of the Nets' franchise. In his Nets home game debut against the Milwaukee Bucks he posted 21 points, including a 16-point game-changing early spurt, plus added five assists in just under 21 minutes.[6] Towards the end of the game he was treated to chants of "Dev-in Harris! Dev-in Harris!",[6] and the first 5,000 fans reportedly received Devin Harris T-shirts in the Nets' next home game versus the San Antonio Spurs.[6] After New Jersey missed the playoffs for the first time in 7 years, he expressed that he was not satisfied with the way he played toward the season's end and he said he would mainly need to work on his assertiveness on offense over the summer.

On November 7, 2008, Harris posted a career-high 38 points against All-Star Allen Iverson in his debut with the Detroit Pistons. He later bettered high career-high on November 30 with 47 points, including scoring 21 in both the first half and the fourth quarter, against the Suns in the Nets' first win in Phoenix since 1993. On December 19, in Dallas' first game at the Nets' Izod Center since the trade between the two teams, Harris put on a masterful performance posting 41 points and a season-high 13 assists in a blowout victory against his former team, while outplaying the player he was essentially traded for, Jason Kidd. Towards the end of the game, Nets fans were chanting "Thank you Cuban!" (Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban was sitting courtside). On January 29, 2009 Harris was named a reserve for the 2009 NBA All-Star Game. It was the first time Harris was named as an All-Star in his career.. On February 23,2009 in a game against the 76ers, Devin Harris made a "miracle" half court buzzer beating 47 foot shot to win the game 98–96.

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