ormer Pioneer Valley Regional School boys' basketball great Adam Harrington has narrowed his college choices to four teams, including the University of Connecticut.
Harrington, who graduated from Pioneer in 1998, will visit UConn early next week. The Bernardston resident has visited Miami (Fla.) and Iowa, and will visit Auburn late next week. He no longer is considering the University of Massachusetts.
"I'm dealing with four good schools," said Harrington, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound shooting guard.
Harrington left the North Carolina State men's basketball program in April following his freshman season. He made the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Rookie team, and led the Wolfpack in scoring at 11.6 points per game.
Harrington will have to sit out the 1999-2000 season, but will have three seasons of eligibility remaining thereafter.
UConn entered the picture for Harrington when Richard Hamilton opted to skip his senior season with the Huskies and enter the NBA Draft.
"They've kept in contact with me," Harrington said. "But they didn't have any scholarships. But then Richard Hamilton decided to go pro.
"They called me when I was gone (on visits to Miami and Iowa). They talked to my family. I'm excited about them, and they're excited about me."
Harrington hopes to make a decision by June 2. "When you get into July, they are recruiting and at big tournaments," said Harrington, the region's all-time scoring leader with 2,347 points. "I feel I have a good idea what I want to do. Once a school gets me, then they can focus on other players, and they can have a plan."
his is going to sound like sour grapes for sure, but the truth must be told.
And the truth is, the entire Adam Harrington re-recruitment process leaves me wondering if it's just as well he's not coming our way, unless you consider Storrs, Conn., our way.
Harrington has officially X'd the University of Massachusetts off his ever-evolving list of potential destinations, which at one point included Kentucky and UCLA, but now includes UConn. The Huskies somehow managed to win a national title without him, but Harrington is expected to visit UConn this week, with Iowa, Miami (Fla.) and Auburn also on the short list.
Harrington's scoring talent would have helped a faltering UMass. But given Bruiser Flint's dislike of pursuing kids with hat in hand, and Harrington's apparent fondness for being pursued, it's been bad chemistry for years.
I think Adam Harrington is a nice young man. But one part of this episode bothers me, and it's not about why he left North Carolina State, though I'm curious.
It's about the fact that Harrington has yet to mention anything, at least publicly, about the value of the schools he's considering. Not as ballclubs, but as schools.
Now, I am not stupid, recent letters to the editor to the contrary. Harrington thinks his career is in basketball, and whether that means the NBA or not, he's right.
But during this entire process, Harrington has portrayed himself as a virtual pro free agent, not a college kid who appreciates he's getting a free education because he can shoot baskets. He has become a mercenary, nothing more.
He did refer to the finalists as "good schools," but it's all been framed in basketball terms. He's come off as a kid shuffling through colleges like a deck of cards, playing one against the other.
And he'd better be right this time, or he risks being labeled as a guy who can never be satisfied. His final months at N.C. State reminded me of Mo Vaughn's last year in Boston — good guys both, but people for whom if it wasn't one thing, it was another.
I haven't talked to him directly since last November, when everything at North Carolina State seemed hunky-dory, so perhaps I'm misinterpreting this whole thing. But I don't think so.
It used to be that a kid transferred with another specific destination in mind. Now kids transfer to go shopping, or more aptly put, to be shopped as a new wave of suitors make their pitches.
Harrington's long shopping list of teams has left the impression that he enjoyed the recruiting attention so much that he decided to go through it all again. He's scheduled to reveal his choice at a news conference in early June.
Talk about academic development came up when Harrington was at Pioneer Valley Regional. But that's not been the case during Recruitment, The Sequel, which follows a year when Harrington — given the green light to shoot — averaged less than 12 points.
But we live in a world where Lamar Odom can help decide who coaches Rhode Island, then bolt a school that had to hold his hand just to get him through one year's eligibility. Harrington isn't breaking new ground by making his choice into a dog-and-pony show.
But it disappoints me anyway, partly because I like him and partly because it sends a lousy message to the next group of kids. There's been no indication that Harrington is looking at any of these schools as much more than the next franchise to play for.
Enough people still cater to him now so that it probably doesn't matter. But someday that will change, and Harrington may find himself slam-dunked by the reality that he won't be catered to forever.
I hope not. I hope he makes the right choice. I also hope we don't delude ourselves into thinking such frivolous details as academics had anything to do with it.