Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber completed his 2014 recruiting class this weekend with the signing of Top-100 high school prospect Malek Harris.
The Orland Park, Ill., native is the third player to sign with the Wildcats, joining Tre Harris (Edwardsville, Ill.) and Stephen Hurt (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), who both signed on the first day of the Fall National Signing Day in November.
“We are excited about the addition of Malek to our program,” Weber said in a press release. “To get a player of his quality this late in the signing period is a real nice pickup for us. We recruited him early, then when he opened back up his recruitment, we had the opportunity to get back involved with him.
“He is a really nice complement to Tre and Stephen to complete our recruiting class.”
A 6-foot-7, 200-pound forward, Harris is a Top-100 national recruit by most recruiting services. He’s rated as the No. 80 high school prospect by Rivals.com and No. 94 by Scout.com and247Sports.com. Harris is also regarded as a Top-35 small/power forward prospect nationally, including 19th by Scout.com, No. 24 by247Sports.com and No. 32 by ESPN.
“Malek definitely gives us an athletic and versatile forward to help replace Shane (Southwell),” Weber said. “He also provides some depth to help Nino (Williams) and our bigs. His athleticism and length give him the opportunity to play several different positions.
“His strengths are his ability to guard and rebound, but he has definitely improved his perimeter skills and can now facilitate and bring the ball up the floor.”
Harris averaged 17.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a junior in 2012-13, as he helped Sandburg to the Class 4A Regional Semifinals.
“I’m just so excited to be heading to Kansas State,” Harris told Joe Henricksen of the Hoops Report. “From the moment they started recruiting me again they provided me with facts and details in showing how I fit into the program.
“I wanted to know, ‘Would I fit perfectly into the situation I would going into?’”
Harris chose K-State over multiple scholarship offers, including Florida, Gonzaga, Marquette and Virginia Tech.
“I want to win — that’s what I play for — to win,” Harris said. “I want to be the player that makes plays to help a team win. I have a chance to do that at Kansas State.
“I get to go play for a great coach in Coach Weber and a really good young team that’s ready to win now. I trust the coaching staff will be there to help me grow as a player and person.”
The trio to sign with the Wildcats joins a K-State program that is coming off yet another solid season in 2013-14. The Wildcats collected their school-record eighth consecutive 20-win season and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight season with 20-13 overall record and 10-8 mark in Big 12 play. The squad has earned mention in several early 2014-15 preseason polls, including those by ESPN.com (No. 25) and Bleacher Report (No. 18).
The Wildcats are expected to return nine lettermen, including five players with starting experience in 2014-15 to go along with Division-I transfers Justin Edwards and Brandon Bolden. The group is headlined by All-Big 12 Second-Team selection Marcus Foster and honorable-mention pick Thomas Gipson. Overall, the team returns more than 70 percent of its scoring and 65 percent of its rebounding.