May 18, 2009

Harris making visits

Tom Diener is making an imprint on another Milwaukee high school basketball program.

Diener, who led Milwaukee Vincent to five state championships, two runner-up finishes and a 313-60 record in 15 seasons, is now back in the Milwaukee Public School system as the coach of cross-town rival, Milwaukee Hamilton.

On April 18, 2008, Diener shocked the state of Wisconsin when he announced he would step down as the Vikings' head basketball coach. The winner of an unprecedented three Associated Press coach-of-the-year awards, Diener was looking to spend more time with his young family, but never ruled out the possibility of coaching again.

After taking the head coaching position at Grafton High School, Diener ran into trouble selling his family's house on the south side of Milwaukee and began to reconsider his options.

Now, after one year at Hamilton, Diener has assembled one of the most talented young teams in the state. That said, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with one of Diener's star prospects, sophomore Darnell Harris, to discuss his current recruitment.

"Right now things are going really good," stated the 2011 small forward. "I'm hearing a lot from Iowa State and Tennessee. I also took a visit to Marquette not very long ago.

"The Marquette trip went really well. I enjoyed myself. They really didn't say anything about a potential offer. It's still pretty early."

Harris, who stands 6-foot-7, helped lead a talented Hamilton team to a 19-4 record in 2009.

"We were pretty young," he said. "Coach Diener has done a great job with us. We really hope to make a few big strides this summer."

Hamilton, which is also home to 2011 prospects Elgin Cook and Charles Lee, has seen it's hallways become increasingly crowded with Division I coaches, something that is all too familiar under Diener's watch.

"Well, Elgin Cook and Charles Lee both play AAU (D-Harris All-Stars) ball with me," Harris said. "We've won our last two tournaments. We play really well together.

"Personally, I've been playing really well. I'm just trying to get better everyday. This summer will be beneficial for me."

As a junior, Harris averaged 10.4 points per game. His counterparts, Cook and Lee, averaged 13.6 and 11.6, respectively.

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