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COLUMN: Josiah Harris’ story on graduating early is one refreshing story

MORGANTOWN — It’s somewhat uncommon today, particularly in a world of faculty athletics that appears to have universities cemented in greed and athletes all the time looking for greener pastures elsewhere, that there’s a lot excellent news to report.

So uncommon, that when making an attempt to drum up a lead for the story you’re about to examine WVU males’s hoops participant Josiah Harris, it was extraordinarily troublesome to give you one thing catchy sufficient that didn’t promote his accomplishment quick.

The most effective we are able to do is simply hit you with it point-blank: Harris is simply two months away from strolling onto a stage on Dec. 16 and incomes his diploma in communication research.

He’s only a sophomore, and barely one at that, with WVU’s 2023 fall semester not even two months previous but.

How do we start to place Harris’ accomplishment into phrases? Nicely, it was WVU interim head coach Josh Eilert who nailed it:

“It’s refreshing to listen to in 2023,” he mentioned.

Completely it’s.

We guarantee you there’s a story behind all of it, crammed with numbers and breakdowns that comes with any sports activities story.

We start, although, with Harris’ motivation and want to tug off such a feat.

In talking with the media Tuesday, the Canton, Ohio native instructed the story of his great-grandmother, and the way she needed to see Harris graduate faculty earlier than she passes away.

Harris’ great-grandmother is 93.

“I really feel like that’s an incredible factor to perform for her and I’ll get to see her face after I’m on that stage,” Harris mentioned.

We are also instructed the story of Harris coming from a really massive household, one with a number of youthful brothers and sisters.

“My greatest factor is seeing my siblings rising up, I needed to not solely be an excellent function mannequin to them on the basketball courtroom, however off the courtroom as nicely,” Harris mentioned. “I need to present them that it’s larger than simply sports activities and you’ll be good along with your schooling as nicely.”

In telling the story, Harris could be very nonchalant about all of it, like this type of factor occurs on a regular basis.

It doesn’t, clearly, however listening to Harris inform all of it in such a composed method is perhaps probably the most fascinating a part of this complete story.

“I simply took the courses and acquired it accomplished,” he mentioned. “I simply did the work. I don’t suppose it’s something loopy, however I do suppose it’s a blessing.”

A blessing that goes again to his sophomore 12 months of highschool at Richmond Heights, simply outdoors of Cleveland.

Within the afternoons and evenings, he was working and enjoying with the Spartans boys’ basketball workforce. Through the day, he was truly attending courses at Lakeland Neighborhood Faculty.

It was a part of Dveron and Carrie Harris’ imaginative and prescient that their son Josiah would get a head begin in life by incomes each highschool and faculty credit on the similar time.

“My mother and father had been wanting up totally different packages and so they noticed the CCP (Faculty Credit Plus), and so they had been like, ‘You will get faculty credit whereas nonetheless taking highschool courses,’ ” Harris mentioned. “It was one thing we needed to do to make issues simpler as soon as we acquired to West Virginia.”

At 15, most are fascinated by closing in on getting a driver’s license. Harris was strolling round a university campus worrying extra about midterms.

“Lots of my buddies had been older,” Harris mentioned. “It made me develop up rather a lot quicker being in these lecture rooms and seeing how they went about it. It acquired me adjusted for West Virginia, having already been on that degree.”

Three years of faculty credit whereas nonetheless in highschool add up — “I don’t bear in mind the precise quantity, however it was rather a lot,” Harris mentioned. — and so by the point he enrolled at WVU in 2022, he was primarily a university senior as a freshman.

WVU requires 120 credit to be able to graduate. As a freshman, Harris loaded up on programs throughout his first two semesters.

“Each time I discuss to him, it’s simply an unimaginable story on how he can graduate that shortly,” Eilert mentioned. “He checked out me and mentioned, ‘They’re paying for it. Why wouldn’t I take as many courses as I can?’ You simply don’t hear that from faculty athletes anymore. He’s profiting from what’s put in entrance of him.”

By the point he enrolled in summer time programs in 2023, Harris was prepared to use for commencement.

Positive, that reality brings some respect and perhaps even some good-natured ribbing from his teammates.

“Quinn (Slazinski) in all probability says probably the most stuff,” Harris mentioned. “He all the time tells me I’m a genius.”

However, there got here a day when Harris noticed the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel. He was about to transition life from faculty scholar to school graduate.

After all, the primary name went again dwelling.

“My mother simply stored on crying,” Harris mentioned. “She nonetheless couldn’t consider I did it. My mother and father had been simply so happy with me.”

The one query left is what’s subsequent for Harris?

A few of that reply might be discovered this season on the ground of the WVU Coliseum, as Harris has larger expectations for himself this season after enjoying in 17 video games as a freshman.

A few of it, too, will proceed to be present in a classroom someplace in Morgantown.

Harris’ bio at WVU states he’s already pursuing a grasp’s diploma in government sport administration. After that, he needs to pursue his Grasp of Enterprise Administration (MBA).

“The best way they’re doing it, I can do it on a one-year tempo,” Harris mentioned. “I can graduate with my grasp’s in sports activities administration. Subsequent 12 months, the MBA might be a one-year course. I might presumably do one thing after that, too.”