Midtown: Sports

Raleigh Christian Academy junior DeAnthony Harris learns his lessons on and off the court

Raleigh Christian's junior DeAnthony Harris  is averaging a 30.5 points and 10.3 rebounds a game for the 10-3 Eagles.
Raleigh Christian's junior DeAnthony Harris is averaging a 30.5 points and 10.3 rebounds a game for the 10-3 Eagles. newsobserver.com

All Raleigh Christian Academy athletics director Mack Stephens knew about DeAnthony Harris at the time he arrived on campus was his mother Jackie Wren wanted her son to transfer to the church-sponsored school.

Wren, a Raleigh Christian Church member, was concerned about her son’s academic progress. She hoped he would gain from the discipline and faith provided at a small church school.

Harris turned up as a lanky sophomore after spending his freshman season at Broughton High, but Stephens and boys’ basketball coach Ron Allen had no hint of the budding talent that had landed on their doorstep. Harris told them he had been cut from the team as a freshman at Broughton, a large public school.

That was then and this is now: Harris is a 6-foot-3, 181-pound junior leading the Triangle in scoring. He’s averaging a double-double of 30.5 points and 10.3 rebounds a game through 13 games for the 10-3 Eagles. His season high is 46 points against Raleigh Hawks, a home-school team.

On Monday night, Harris posted a double-double with 38 points and 12 rebounds as the Eagles defeated Hilltop Christian.

“It took some adjusting when I got here,” Harris said. “It’s stricter, and I had some complications with a couple of detentions. But I learned, and this year has been great. I haven’t had any problems, and my grades have improved.”

In a world of computer-based recruiting, every player seems to have an evaluation. But Harris is so far off the radar that he isn’t listed on the Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com sites.

He didn’t play on a club team last summer and only played at Raleigh Christian until December 2013 when he was declared academically ineligible for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.

Harris has played organized basketball since eighth grade and is focused now on matching his skills with his athleticism.

“He’s really grown since he got here,” Allen said. “He’s learning the game, and he’s using his teammates and his talents.”

Harris is happy at Raleigh Christian but admits his mind drifted back to Broughton over Christmas break. He attended some 43rd annual Holiday Invitational games there. Broughton won the Summit Bracket to climb to No. 1 in the area rankings.

“I believe I could make an impact if I was still at Broughton, but in all honesty, I’m glad I’m here,” Harris said. “I’m making an impact here, and it’s not just about me. Public schools are fine for some people, but without this team and God I’d be nothing. I couldn’t be in a better situation than I am in now. I want to bring this school a championship.”