West Virginia guard Eron Harris (screen shot via ESPN3.com)
Even though West Virginia's Eron Harris fouled out in only eight minutes and didn't score a point in the Mountaineers' 71-61 loss at Kansas State on Monday night, the promising freshman guard can be proud of at least one thing.
Nobody can say Harris doesn't care enough.
Assessed his third foul barely a minute into the second half when he grazed Will Spradling on a pull-up jump shot in transition, Harris walked back to the bench and buried his head in his hands in anguish. A few minutes later, ESPN cameras panned to a shot of Harris on the bench with tears welling up in his eyes as teammates tried in vain to console him.
The frustration boiled over for Harris after he reentered the game when he shoved a perhaps melodramatic Spradling to the ground trying to come over the top of a screen with about nine minutes to play. Harris received a personal and a questionable technical foul, benching him for the rest of the game and enabling Spradling to sink four free throws to extend the Kansas State lead to 18.
[Forde Minutes: College basketball coaches go a bit crazy]
There are some who have been critical of Harris for not controlling his emotions during the game, but anyone who is calling Harris out for crying on the bench is way off the mark. Even though the technical foul was costly, I bet most coaches would gladly take a kid who cares enough to tear up in disappointment during a poor game over an apathetic player who gets over a loss or a bad night minutes after the final buzzer.
Harris addressed his tears in a Tweet on Tuesday morning.
"I don't show emotions often but when it comes to competition and my brothers, they come out," he wrote. "That game was definitely a learning experience."
The off night from Harris was surprising because he previously had emerged as one of the few bright spots in a disappointing West Virginia season. Harris scored in double figures in nine of 10 games prior to Monday night, providing a poor-shooting Mountaineers team with some badly needed perimeter firepower.
Based on his tweet, it sounds like Harris is taking the proper approach to Monday's game. He can learn from his mistakes, but he shouldn't have to apologize for his emotions.
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