July 23, 2012
By: Evan Roberts, Auburn Media Relations
For incoming transfer guard, KT Harrell, basketball and family have always intertwined. KT's father, Rodney, has taught the game of basketball to KT ever since he was a little boy. Rodney's experience is extensive as he played at Odessa Junior College with 1991 NBA Draft No. 1 overall pick, Larry Johnson, before playing professionally overseas.
"I've been playing basketball all of my life," the Montgomery, Ala. native said. "My dad has always had a basketball in my hands since I was a little kid. He has a lot of experience with basketball, so he has always trained me ever since I was a kid."
When Harrell decided to leave the University of Virginia in December of last year, he cited family as the main reason. Knowing that his family will be able to come see every home game, Harrell feels more comfortable than ever before.
"Being able to be close to family and seeing them again has been great," Harrell said. "Virginia was a great school, but I just think this is a better opportunity for me being here and being close to home. My family is a big reason why I am in school and working so hard. My family has pushed me when I didn't feel like pushing myself, so they are a big part of why I am doing what I am doing.
"It is going to be so much better. I rarely got to see my parents when I was at Virginia, but now I will be able to see them every time I step on the court, because I know they are only 45 minutes away. It will be a lot better on my mind and my heart, knowing that they are in the arena supporting me."
On March 27, Harrell announced his decision to transfer to Auburn, knowing that he will redshirt the 2012-13 season, but he knows the year off will help him learn more about his game and Coach Tony Barbee's system.
"I plan on learning the system," Harrell said. "I get to learn how the coaches react to different players, and I get to see where I fit in the system and with the guys. It will be a good time to work on my game and get ready for next year, especially to help these young guys with the experience that I have from Virginia."
With the fast paced offense that Coach Barbee likes to run, Harrell believes Auburn was the best option for him. During the year and a half he spent at Virginia, Harrell averaged 7.1 points per game.
"Offensively, Coach Barbee wants to do a lot of moving and a lot of motion type offense, so I know I will do well because I want to get up and down," said Harrell. "Virginia ran a different style offense and didn't run too much. It was mainly just a half court pace."
On the defensive side of the ball, Harrell believes he will be a major impact for the Tigers, because of the hard-nosed defense that Virginia head coach Tony Bennett enforced.
"Coach Barbee has talked about playing tough defense, and that is one thing I will carry with me from Virginia," Harrell said. "Coach Bennett was a defensive mastermind. He preached it so much that you had to be a great defensive player to get on the floor. I know I will bring that here and try to motivate other guys to be as excited to play defense as I am, because when you make stops, you win games."
Since arriving at Auburn this summer, Harrell feels at home and has really meshed with his new teammates. One of the players that Harrell has really come to admire is fellow guard and fifth-year senior, Frankie Sullivan.
"It has been great. I feel right at home with these guys, because they want to win," Harrell said. "It has been real fun. Frankie is a heck of a guy. Frankie has been through the struggle, and he is trying to help other guys, and it is such a big help."
Harrell, who will be eligible for the 2013-14 season, has had outstanding workouts this summer.
"Even though KT Harrell cannot play this year, he has had a great summer," said Barbee. "He is going to help our team this year by elevating the level of practice every day. Because he can't play in games, the practices become his games."