Remembering Lucious Harris

Kurt —  February 2, 2007

I was a little bit lucky. The year I moved to Long Beach was the year that Long Beach State may have had its best basketball team ever. And, since I didn’t know many people and I had plenty of free nights, I went to a lot of basketball games that year. And that 92-93 team grew on me like few others have.

They were led by Lucious Harris, who not-so-coincidentally gets his number retired by Long Beach State Saturday night.

Most of you probably remember Harris from his recent NBA play, where he was a key guy off the bench for the Nets when they went to the NBA Finals a few years back. I remember Harris as the skinny and lightning quick kid who seemed unstoppable his senior season — he averaged 23.1 points per game shooting 60.2% (eFG%) and 41% from beyond the arc.

I talked with his old Long Beach coach this week, Seth Greenberg (now at #16 Virginia Tech) and he said they tried to use Harris’ quickness off the dribble by setting up a lot of isolation plays for him. But they also ran him off a lot of picks and down screens, trying to get him room for that quick jump-shot release (much like UCLA this year runs screens for Aaron Afflalo). It worked because Harris was such a smart player, even at that young age he seemed able to find the seams and holes in a defense that gave him room to get off shots (a knack he brought to the NBA).

What I remember is you could count on Harris, but it worked because that team had some balance, with Bryon Russell playing the role of the strong guard who got posted up more and used his strength to get off his shots.

What I didn’t know then was how much easier the work ethic of those two, trying to out do one another in practice, made Greenberg’s job easier.

“When you’re two best players are your best practice players, you can do a lot,” Greenberg said,

Lucious Harris saved his best play for the Big West Tournament that season, where he was named the MVP and led the 49ers to the title. It was all good enough to get the 49ers and 11 seed in the NCAA tournament that year, but they faced a strong Illinois team and lost in the first round 75-72.

Harris was the first pick of the second round of the NBA draft that year, taken by the Dallas Mavericks. He played a dozen years in the NBA.

I learned a lot — and had a lot of fun — watching Lucious Harris and those Seth Greenberg-coached teams. When I saw he was getting his number retired, well, it just reminded my how much fun basketball can be.

to Remembering Lucious Harris

  1. Here’s a good article about Smush from the L.A.Daily News.

    I didn’t know he was making the minimum. He’s the lowest paid starting guard in the League. He can fill that spot at a bargain rate until next year when Farmar will be ready to step in and take it.


  2. Reading this made me think of the two guys at Loyola Marymount in the early 90’s that made me really get into amateur basketball. Big ups to Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble for those memories. Can’t believe it has been 15+ years since Hank died on the court. That Loyola team was one for the ages. hope their legacy lives on.


  3. Hey guys, can somebody help me out here? I’ve been seeing all these ads for “LAKERS IN HD” all over the tv lately and even in the paper,,1,1625744.column?coll=la-headlines-sports
    so my question is…
    are the people who have time warner the only ones who get HD? I live in orange county and I have Cox. As far as I know, Time Warner is mainly around the south bay area. Does that mean I’m screwed? Do I get HD too? If not, I have 2 questions: 1) Why are they rubbing it in our faces and 2) what do us Laker fans in OC have to do to be able to see our beloved Lakers in HD too?? anybody know whats up with this?


  4. chris henderson February 2, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    yeah, I have Charter, and I’m wondering the same thing???
    do we get the HD package as well???
    if not, why not!!!
    who do we complain to, I guess I have to call my cable company.
    but, I am hoping that since they are now going to broadcast in HD, the cameras have to be better than the fuzzy ones they use now, so let’s hope we all get a sharper picture fom now on.


  5. Computer trouble delaying pacer post, hope to have it soon


  6. Lakers in HD! Not that I’ll be able to take advantage of it for some time, but it’s about time. It’s my understanding that KCAL will be going HD. So that means those games will be over the air HD. You’d have to check with your cable providers to see if they’ll carry those HD feeds or not.

    On a related note, I actually worry about the regular feeds if they’re coming in cropped for standard NTSC from an HD camera. The camera man sees the whole image live, there are markers that show the standard frame in the viewfinder. But I’ve seen it on ABC broadcasts where critical action gets cut off for NTSC because of fast play. The camera man reacts to the HD frame first, SD second. This is especially true of those terrible swimming crane shots they do.


  7. Kurt, I saw Seth Greenburg say somewhere that his only regret (basketball wise) was that he didn’t stay at LBSU and turn it into Gonzaga before Gonzage, with the high schools in LB and the way the program was taking off, it easily could’ve happened, anyway, I’m happy for Seth, he’s a big-time coach in the ACC now


  8. He could have made it a power, especially after the new building (the Pyramid) got finished and gave them very good facilities. But there was a lot of internal stuff there, the university president was leaving and the guy coming is was Robert Maxson, who was the president who butted heads with Tarkanian at UNLV. There were a lot of politics that helped push Seth out. I mean, he went to South Florida, which was not a step up.


  9. I wish Lucious Harris would be picked up by another team….or has he totally retired? I reall y enjoyed watching him play!