On February 4, Nevada defeated Air Force 88-54. While this game has long passed, there are plenty of takeaways about Nevada’s recent high-riser on draft boards, Jalen Harris. Harris put up a monster stat line in what was his best collegiate performance: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and just 2 turnovers on 12/21 shooting overall, 6/8 from 3, and a perfect 8/8 from the free throw line.
In this career best game, Harris had everything clicking offensively: slashing, shot creation, spot up shooting, and playmaking.
In the first clip above, Harris does a beautiful job setting up the P&R, but unfortunately for him he couldn’t earn the assist due to the roller traveling. Harris’ overall timing and patience in the P&R is apparent in these first two clips. According to Synergy, he finished the regular season in the 87th percentile as a pick & roll ball handler, which is elite company. One other area shown in this short clip is his athleticism, which will be even more apparent in the following section. Harris has exceptional athleticism with explosiveness, which is lethal paired with his frame. While he didn’t convert on the dunk, his ability to be an aerial threat as a guard, makes him hard to guard.
The next area that stood out against Air Force was his ability to create space with ease. As mentioned above, Jalen Harris’ first step is explosive and it helps him get to his spots quickly and effectively. Despite a couple of his shots rolling off the rim, Harris breaks down the defense sufficiently and avoids contact easily without making the play more difficult. Simply put, Harris is crafty and a successful acrobatic finisher. Harris also has advanced ball handling skills and is creative in how he creates space.
Lastly, Harris’ shooting was wildly successful against Air Force. He showed promise in the catch and shoot, both uncontested NBA range 3s and contested college 3s. Harris has unconventional form, but his touch is excellent, which gives optimism for his shot translating and continuing to improve. With Harris’ advanced ball handling ability to create space, he is also capable shooting off the dribble. While his pull-up jumper needs improvement, Harris can hit step-backs and one dribble jump shots well.
This game was the middle of a scorching hot streak that helped put him in most big boards. Starting with the Air Force matchup, Jalen Harris ended the regular season (7 games) averaging 27.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, and 1.3 SPG on 49% from the field, 41% from 3, and 80% from the free throw line. However, he did average 3 TOPG to close out the regular season in that stretch, which is an area of improvement for Harris.