Brownell says Harrison returning for junior season, waiting to hear from NCAA

by - Senior Writer -
(Photo: John David Mercer - USA Today)

Damarcus HarrisonDamarcus Harrison
So. Guard
#21 6-4, 200
Greenwood, SC

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has decided to return to Clemson to play basketball next season, instead of taking his Mormon mission, and head basketball Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
Head Coach
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told TigerNet Thursday that Harrison is now waiting on clearance from the NCAA.

Harrison, a native of Greenwood, played the 2011-12 season at BYU, and had planned to take his mission after his freshman season. Instead, the church decided he needed to delay his mission an entire year. He couldn't return to BYU for the school year because the BYU coaches had used his scholarship already. He couldn't pay his own way because it was too expensive for his parents.

And in mid-August, he worried it would be tough to find another Division I school willing to use a scholarship on him even though there was a chance he wouldn't play for another three years.

That sent Harrison scrambling to find a place to play last season, even though there was a chance he wouldn’t be able to play for three season, and he decided on Clemson. He received a hardship waiver from the NCAA to play right away instead of sitting out a full season, and the original plan was for him to leave after last season and return in 2015 for his final two years of eligibility.

Last season at Clemson, Harrison appeared in 31 games – starting 14 of them – and averaged 5.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

Harrison felt like he fit in at Clemson, and changed his mind late last season, according to Brownell.

“He came to us towards the beginning of February and said, ‘Coach, I’m not really sure I want to go on my mission.’ And I said, ‘Well, this is a major decision and you need to decide what is best for you and I will support you either way.’ We had planned on Damarcus going on the mission and had recruited accordingly,” Brownell told TigerNet in an exclusive interview Thursday. “But I think it was something where he felt like as the year went on, that he didn’t know if it was in his best interests to go away, and then come back and try and play college basketball again. I think he was fearful that it wouldn’t work out, and that the timing wasn’t great. There were a lot of variables that were out of his control and made it a little more difficult to plan something to make it work the way it was.”

Brownell met with his Harrison and his family at the end of the season to talk over all of their options.

“At the end of the year we brought his family down and we met and we talked about it,” Brownell said. “We had a big meeting, and everybody seemed to think that it was in his best interest to try and come back. We are still waiting to hear from the NCAA. We are not sure whether there will be a penalty or not, but we are excited he is back because he wants to try and compete.

“There is an outside chance he could be suspended because he transferred and didn’t sit out a year. We just don’t know, but I think we will find out right away. We will find that out either this week or next. But I don’t think that was a factor for him either way. He enjoyed his first year at Clemson and wants to finish his career here.“

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