Sports, Men's Basketball, Basketball

Claudell Harris Jr. Brings Scoring and Confidence to BC as Grant’s First Addition of the Offseason

With DeMarr Langford Jr. and TJ Bickerstaff hitting the transfer portal, 1,000-point scorer Makai Ashton-Langford graduating, and ACC Most Improved Player Quinten Post potentially leaving for the 2023 NBA Draft in June, Boston College men’s basketball was in need of an addition—a scoring addition.

The Eagles got the addition on Tuesday when 17.4 point per game scorer Claudell Harris Jr. committed to BC. The sophomore transfer from Charleston Southern University is head coach Earl Grant’s first acquisition of the 2023 offseason.

“There was a lot of schools calling, a lot of schools contacting me, but I took the BC visit first because I built the best relationship with the coaching staff, and Coach Grant, especially,” Harris said. “And honestly, it just felt right. I trust them. I trust what they got going on. And I love the culture. And so I feel like I made the right decision.” 

Harris, who goes by “MJ,” took a visit to BC’s campus over Easter weekend, and he spoke with Grant and the rest of the staff, who showed Harris the new practice facilities at the Hoag Basketball Pavilion, as well as the Boston area. Most players were away from campus for the long weekend—Harris only met freshman Armani Mighty—but he felt as if he had seen everything he wanted to see.

“The coaching staff still took that time out to reach out to me to let me know that I was more of a need than a want,” Harris said.

With the departures of the Langford brothers, BC is losing 19.4 points per game from those guards alone. Harris said he is confident he can replicate their success—he was Charleston Southern’s leading points per game scorer by over six points and he also scored 30 points on two different occasions. Harris will likely pair with Jaeden Zackery as BC’s backcourt for the 2023–24 season.

“There’s gonna be a lot of exciting plays,” Harris said. “I’m very energetic, very passionate on the court. I’m gonna do stuff to get the crowd, you know, kind of into it. So they’re gonna be in for a fun one, fun season.” 

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Harris shot 46 percent from the field and 78.6 percent from the free throw line last season, playing in 30 of the Buccaneers’ 31 games within the Big South Conference. He also earned Big South Second Team selection honors while leading Charleston Southern in scoring. 

Harris acknowledged that there will be a learning curve but said he is confident his scoring will translate to the ACC. 

“It’s gonna be tougher,” Harris said. “But that’s what I do. I score the ball playing inside the system. We’re gonna shock a lot of people.” 

Harris said he is adamant he’s not just a scorer and will fit right in with Grant’s “gritty not pretty” mantra. The Hahnville, La. native registered 28 steals last season for the most on Charleston Southern’s team and said that he truly believes he can defend at this level. 

“I feel like I’m a great ball defender,” Harris said. “I feel like I have some stuff to work on, but I’m very athletic, long arms. … I feel like I could guard anybody in the ACC.” 

Aside from individual skill, Harris said he sees himself clicking with his teammates right away, accrediting this belief to his personality and willingness to win. 

“I’m very vocal on the court,” Harris said. “I’m a good people-person. So, I feel like I’m gonna be able to come in and bond with my teammates right off the bat and build good chemistry fast and get in there and try to win games. I just really want to do anything that’s gonna help the team win honestly.” 

Harris, whose Charleston Southern team finished with a 10–21 record last season, acknowledged the Eagles’ 9–11 conference record in the 2022–23 season, and said he can help finish what BC has already started. He’s still enrolled at Charleston Southern, but once classes end in May, he said he is looking forward to joining his new teammates in Chestnut Hill.

“They were closer than they think, so, like me coming in, it’s adding another piece to the puzzle, and everything’s gonna click,” Harris said. 

But Harris said his ultimate goal is not just to win, but to win enough to bring BC back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. 

“That’s something everybody wants to experience,” Harris said. “And I feel like we’re in a position to do so.”

April 16, 2023