I don’t think I’ve ever used the term snakebit before, but it seems appropriate to describe Dominick Harris’s career at Gonzaga thus far. As a freshman, Dom probably would have played over ten minutes per game if Andrew Nembhard wasn’t declared eligible just before the start of play. Last season, he would have battled Rasir Bolton for a starting position if a Plantar fasciitis tear hadn’t sidelined him for the year. This year, Bolton unexpectedly returned, Gonzaga snags highly coveted transfer guard Malachi Smith while last season’s freshman phenoms Nolan Hickman and Hunter Sallis lived up to their 5-star hype. Snakebit.
Known primarily for assembling the “Tricky Trio” (Harris, Suggs and Strawther) which led to the signing of Chet Holmgren, it’s easy to forget what an incredible basketball player Dominick Harris is. As a high school freshman prodigy, he was Player of the Year in his California division including a game scoring 50 points with 10 treys.
He averaged 25 per game as a freshman and a sophomore, committing to Gonzaga after his sophomore season. He transferred to Rancho Christian School as a junior, providing the outside threat for Isiaih and Evan Mobley, who starred at USC and now both play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. That season, Harris had the #1 play on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top Ten dunking over 7-foot James Wiseman who now plays for the Golden State Warriors. He eventually got as high as No. 50 in 247sports.com’s class of 2020 rankings and looked to be an immediate contributor upon his arrival at Gonzaga.
#1 on Sportscenter pic.twitter.com/NTs6frcKit— Dominick Harris ♂️ (@DominickHarri2) January 12, 2019
The best laid plans. Harris, nicknamed the Dominator, demonstrated his prowess from deep in limited minutes (7.2 pg) as a freshman. He shot .391% on 23 attempts from three, a small but potentially telling sample. Late last season, he’d healed enough to start practicing with the team and word leaked out he’s one of the top three-point shooters and a lockdown defender during scrimmages. He’s got the game, but unfortunately for him, so do four other guards.
Probably the most intriguing questions entering the season will be the starting lineup and the substitution rotations. As the amount of talent on the Gonzaga team seemingly increases every year, the question is always asked if this will be the season Mark Few expands his rotation. Thus far, the answer has always been no. Bigs Timme, Watson, Strawther and Reid will almost certainly play, Strawther and Timme potentially 30 minutes per game, this could mean possible disappointment for an extremely talented guard.
Out of the five primary guards; Harris, Bolton, Smith, Sallis and Hickman, only Bolton and Smith, both fifth year seniors, are seemingly guaranteed minutes. Hickman, being the only pure point guard, has the inside track as third guard and a starting position in a “small ball” lineup with Strawther playing the “4”. This leaves Harris and Sallis in what may be a season long battle as to who will be first off the bench. It could change from game to game until March. Then, one of these two exceptional talents may be relegated to that dreaded ninth position in Few’s rotation. That would be a shame, let’s hope both players are just too good to keep off the floor.
Who knows, with all the available talent, this could be the year Few expands the rotation to nine (or more, right Perry, Gregg and Huff) players.
After last season’s injury, Andrew Nembhard said this of Harris, “I just love his game, love him as a kid. He just works so hard, he’s all about the team. Whenever he does come back, he’s going to be great…”. Let’s hope Nembhard’s correct. In most of the podcasts I’ve listened to and articles I’ve read this off-season, Harris’ name is most often mentioned as the player with the greatest potential to have a breakout season. Let’s hope so, it’s time for this talented, team-first and well liked player to have a change of luck.
At the Cascadia Public House in North Spokane (6314 N Ash Street), they offer a huge spicy chicken sandwich called the Dominator. Dominick Harris, in his first NIL deal, helped develop the sandwich and 5% of its sales will be going to local Spokane Charities. If you’re in the area, give it a try.