Harris a big man with Tech plan

HOUGHTON – For this one, the sales pitch was easy.

When recruiting the 6-foot-8, 260 pound, Quintan Harris out of Bellevue, Mich. to come ply his low-post skills at Michigan Tech, all men’s head coach Kevin Luke had to was point to his assistant coach Josh Buettner as the shining example of for the Huskies’ ability to develop post players.

Buettner’s resume includes two All-American seasons, two GLIAC Player of the Year Awards and three years spent professionally in Europe from his playing days. For his latest coaching endeavor, he can claim the recently graduated and wildly successful Ali Haidar as evidence of his coaching ability.

Throw in an interest in biomedical engineering, and Harris had Tech written all over his ample frame from the start.

“Coach Buettner was a big guy for them as an All-American and then Ali Haidar was an All-American the past two years and they were both big guys in a good system,” Harris said. “Coach Luke talked a lot about the inside-out game where the big guys would be a big part of the offense and where they are utilized. That really appeals to me.

“And then obviously it is a great school from an engineering standpoint. That was important to me.”

As an early signee from last November, Harris said he made the move early with Tech because of the level of comfort he felt with Buettner and Luke after just a couple of sessions talking with the coaching duo.

Growing up south of Lansing in the lower peninsula and facing a nine-hour plus car ride to Houghton, that level of comfort was very important to Harris in making his decision.

“Especially when you are that far from home, you don’t want to have the slightest hesitation or any level of doubt,” Harris said. “And with coach Luke and coach Buettner, I just felt that comfort level.”

On the court, Luke has described Harris as “a real man on that block,” where the center averaged a double-double over his final two seasons at Olivet High.

Harris himself said he never felt much inclined to drift away from the hoop, preferring 15-feet and in as his area to work from.

That sounds a recipe for success for both the Huskies and Harris personally, as Tech currently needs to fill a Haidar-sized hole in the five-spot for the upcoming season.

Harris said he has not thought that far ahead, however, and is currently working on his conditioning and strength to prepare for the jump to the more physical college game.

“I have been running a lot, working on my quickness more than anything else because (the competition) is going to be completely different than anything I saw in high school,” Harris said.

“I have also been shooting a lot from 15-feet or so to work on that part of the game, because I was always the biggest guy on the court in high school and never needed to do that much.”

Taking a summer class at Tech, Harris will be moving to Houghton at the end of June, giving himself an opportunity to play with his teammates earlier than usual.

Harris said he expects the quickness of the play to be the hardest adjustment for him, and he wanted to throw himself into that as quickly as possible to best prepare for the upcoming season. How he fares in scrimmages this summer will go a long way to determing whether he redshirts next season or competes for minutes in the rotation alongside fellow bigs Kyle Stankowski and James Wezensky.

“The quicker pace more than anything is what I need to work on,” Harris said. “It is why I am doing all the conditioning work, so I can run the floor with everyone and get by people.”