Damon Harge first gained national attention here at Prep Rally for blowing up the North Carolina high school hoops scene while still in the sixth grade. Now he's getting noticed by some pretty talented pros and college coaches, one of whom just took the dramatic step of making Harge possibly the first sixth-grader to receive a Division I college basketball scholarship offer.
As first noted on Twitter by Michael Monroe of Hoops Report, and later confirmed by the player himself on the same medium, 12-year-old Damon Harge recently received a scholarship offer from North Carolina Central, despite having yet to enter the seventh grade. The scholarship offer was also directly confirmed with a Prep Rally source by the Harge family.
Harge, a diminutive but nearly unguardable point guard (he stands just 5-foot-4 and 120 pounds), has drawn favorable comparisons with the likes of John Wall in recent years, and now at least one college coach has seen enough to be convinced that he has a future at the next level … even if that level may be six years away.
The budding star received the offer while working out in Raleigh with reining NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, fellow pro Nolan Smith, current N.C. State star C.J. Leslie and soon-to-be N.C. State super frosh Rodney Purvis. Despite being the youngest and least experienced player there by a mile, Harge reportedly held his own, convincing N.C. Central coach LaVelle Moton that Harge is the real deal.
If someone should know whether or not Harge is already prepared to cut it in the NCAA, it might be Moton. In his first year at the helm at N.C. Central, Moton turned a program that had won only four games in the prior two seasons into a 17-victory success story that earned him national Independent Coach of the Year honors.
In fact, Harge's talent is so overwhelming that top players from years before continue to reach out for him with support. After a recent workout, Irving allegedly told the teen he was more skilled than Irving was at the same age … all before putting in a plug for his former high school coach's program (Kevin Boyle's Montverde Academy in Florida) and Mike Krzyzewski, for whom he played for a year before departing for the NBA. Fellow NBA star Jamal Crawford has also reached out to Harge, offering to work out with him in Seattle if he wants to.
All of these superstar accolades follow on the heels of John Wall's mentorship of the budding phenom. Wall, the Washington Wizards and former Kentucky star, first saw Harge at a camp and immediately stepped in to try and guide him through a period when Harge will become a top target of agents and other hangers-on.
With the help of one of Wall's former coaches and plenty of other advisers, Harge has forged forward, training two to three times a day and rapidly improving his already stunning skill set. Where a year ago Harge was almost certainly the top sixth-grade point guard in the country, he now may be one of the top points guards across all prep classifications.
Luckily, Harge's parents have ferociously guarded their son from any undue influence, batting away no fewer than five agents who attempted to reach out to the middle schooler on Facebook. The blessing and curse of Harge's immense talent is that the family will have six more years of that before he finally arrives on the collegiate scene, with N.C. Central or any number of other schools.
Clearly, Moton's offer is just the tip of the iceberg for Harge. In fact, when you watch what the 12-year-old can do on the court, its hard not to wonder just how enormous that iceberg of athletic success might be.
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