2017 Cal men’s basketball commit Juhwan Harris-Dyson ended his career at Heritage Christian High School on a high note, winning the John R. Wooden Award for the CIF Southern Section Division II in addition to picking up All-CIF honors. Juhwan caught up with GoldenBearReport.com to talk about winning the Wooden Award and what new Cal head coach Wyking Jones expects from him next season.
“Considering the prestige of the John R. Wooden Award, I was extremely honored when I first heard I was a recipient,” Juhwan says of his reaction to getting the Wooden Award. “My High School basketball coach Paul Tait told me approximately two weeks ago.”
While John Wooden coached long before he was even born, Harris-Dyson is very familiar with his accomplishments and the legacy that he left behind.
“About two years ago my mom gave me the book Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success,” Juhwan said. “I've read it at least twice since then. So, yes, I know all about his philosophy and legendary accomplishments.”
Given the prestige that surrounds this award, it truly takes a lot of hard work to separate yourself from the other players in consideration.
“My philosophy of hard work and dedication on and off the court helped separate me from the competition,” Harris- Dyson noted. “My dad always reminded me to trust my training. So that's what I do. It really helps me to decrease any lag time between reading and execution.”
As he looks back on his high school career, Harris-Dyson is proud of the legacy that he and the rest of teammates leave behind at Heritage Christian. He feels good about the direction of the program and what the future holds.
“It not only feels incredibly good to finish my high school basketball campaign on a high note,” Juhwan says. “I'm extremely proud and honored to be leaving behind a solid basketball program at Heritage Christian School for the current underclassmen and incoming student athletes to continue well beyond me.”
With the high school chapter of his basketball career now over, Juhwan now sets to embark on the next chapter of his basketball career at Cal. Amid a coaching change, he remained firmly committed to Cal and a lot of that has to do with his strong relationship with new head coach Wyking Jones, who was one of the first people to text him when he found out he was receiving the Wooden Award.
“Coach Jones sent me a text that simply read, 'That's biiiig time SpiderFly! Congrats!'” Harris-Dyson said. “Cal Men’s Basketball tweeted an official congratulations announcement too.”
For those that don’t know, “SpiderFly” is a nickname that Juhwan got from his father for the aggressive and tenacious way he plays.
“My dad nicknamed me SpiderFly,” Harris-Dyson explained. “The name came to him while he was watching me play one day. He says, and I quote, 'watching you play is like watching a basketball super hero with the physical instincts of a determined insect... you swarm and smother your opponent on defense like a relentless Spider attacking its prey and on offense you slash, cut and dribble-drive with the elusive quickness of a lightning fast house-Fly.' And that's how I got the name.”
Wyking Jones expects Harris-Dyson to live up to his “SpiderFly” nickname when he comes to Cal. Jones’ system will be predicated on lots of full court pressing, traps, and aggressive defending that will force turnovers and lead to easy baskets in transition. In order for such a system to work, he'll need guys with high motors that don’t take plays off. And coach Jones thinks Harris-Dyson can be one of those guys
“Coach Jones has made it no secret that he sees his team as being a menacing defensive force that will disrupt, press and trap at will,” Harris-Dyson said. “He's talked about putting me on the ball to help create steals and deflections that turn into fast-break transition scoring. That's right up my alley.”
Harris-Dyson's game is reminiscent of Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Tony Allen. He is extremely active on the defensive end of the floor and thrives in the transition. He is an explosive athlete, with the ability to elevate quickly and attack the rim with ease. While he projects as more of a slashing 2 guard, he has the pieces to play on the wing at the three or at the point with polishing and experience. He'll be able to defend three spots right off the bat, which should put him in a position to be one of the top defensive players in the conference.
Harris-Dyson’s ended his high school career on a high note and is joining a Cal program that looks to build on his strengths and make him a focal point of what they are trying to do offensively and defensively. He really can’t ask to be in a better place at this time.