The lengthy recruiting process is just about over for Winston-Salem Prep’s Raekwon Harney. It’s not that the soon-to-be-graduate was ever in a hurry to make a decision. He’s entertained offers from at least seven Division I basketball programs.
“I got the opportunity to see how college recruiting really works,” said Harney, a 5-feet-10 point guard who has a 3.6 grade-point average. “There was no need for me to be in a rush. I wanted to take my time and carefully consider my options. It’s a good feeling to know that somebody wants you to come to their university to play basketball. At the same time, you develop a sense for who wants you the most.”
Harney declined to specify which school he might sign with. He did indicate that he hoped to sign a letter-of-intent prior to Winston-Salem Prep’s graduation ceremonies on June 9. The colleges that have Harney on their respective radar screens include High Point, Gardner-Webb, UNC Wilmington, Tulane, Farleigh-Dickinson, Brown, Old Dominion, UNC Greensboro and University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Over the past two seasons, Harney was the catalyst for the Phoenix, who won back-to-back Class 1-A state basketball titles. As a senior, he averaged 11.3 points, 9.5 assists and 4.9 steals. Even though rising senior Mike Hughes is considered by many to be Prep’s best player, few will argue that Harney, who shot 51 percent from the field and 47 percent from 3-point range, was the critical piece to the Phoenix’s championship runs.
A look back at this year’s state championship final provides ample evidence of Harney’s value. In Prep’s 53-41 win over Rocky Mount Prep, Harney was the only Phoenix player to play every minute of every quarter.
“With Raekwon at the point, we won two state championships in a row, so that really says it all,” said Coach Andre Gould. “I don’t see him having any problems making the transition (to college). Not only does he have the speed and quickness, but he also has an outstanding basketball IQ. His jump shot is much improved, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s from mid-range or from 3-point distance. Whatever is needed to help his team win games, Raekwon does it.”
As Prep’s floor general, it was always Harney’s first preference to set his teammates up for high percentage shots. Yet, there were times when the Phoenix desperately needed him to take charge offensively. On two occasions during postseason play, Harney came through when it mattered most. If Harney didn’t deliver in these two games, the Phoenix would’ve been eliminated, which would’ve crushed all hopes of advancing in the playoffs and competing for another state title.
In the third round of the state playoffs, Prep had problems generating consistent offense for most of the second half. Lake Norman Charter rallied from a double-digits deficit and appeared poised to pull off a miraculous comeback late in the fourth quarter. Harney, who finished with a game-high 23 points, took control. He scored in a variety of ways and had several assists which led to baskets that helped the Phoenix to hold steady in a 66-55 victory.
Harney delivered again vs. North Rowan in the semifinals of the Midwest 1-A Regionals. North Rowan geared its defense to shut down Prep’s primary shooters. Harney responded by scoring 26 points to lead all scorers in Prep’s 72-70 double overtime win.
“Being at Prep has been a great experience for me,” said Harney. “Coach Gould was hard on me, but it was all for good because it made me a better player. I never really gave much thought about me playing for a state championship. Winning those two championships was something special. It’s something that I’ll never forget. My time at Prep turned out a whole lot better than I ever imagined, and that goes beyond basketball. The school atmosphere is great.”