Ex-Division I college basketball player Walter Harris’ potential has coach Charles McCarthy fired up

Kevin Iole

Former UFC middleweight Charles McCarthy has developed into a high-level coach in his post-fighting career at American Top Team Boynton Beach.

He's never been as excited about a prospect's potential as he is about Walter "Big Ticket" Harris, a former college basketball player who signed a deal with the UFC last month.

The 6-foot-5 Harris will meet Jared Rosholt on Nov. 30 at "The Ultimate Fighter 18" finale in Las Vegas.

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Though Harris doesn't have a high profile yet, McCarthy said that will come.

"He is an athletic superstar at heavyweight and people really don't want to fight him. He always wins by KO quickly," said McCarthy, who noted that all 29 of Harris' pro and amateur MMA wins were by knockout. "He's the new best athlete in the heavyweight division and moves like a man half his size. He's improving incredibly fast under the tutelage of the American Top Team."

Harris, 30, played one season of college basketball at Jacksonville State. He had several NBA tryouts, but never caught on and turned to MMA.

He'll be a fighter to watch. Anyone with the athleticism to play Division I basketball and the power to knock out big men can't be discounted.

McCarthy said he believes Harris will make a run for the top of the heavyweight division.

That remains to be seen, but Harris seems reminiscent of ex-UFC interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin. Carwin was a college football player who turned to MMA and became one of the best in the world with his combination of wrestling and punching power.

If Harris can come close to being as successful in MMA as Carwin, he'll have had a good career.

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