By Robert Hornes with NewsDay
Tobias Harris has an opportunity to learn and play with “the best of the best” during this week’s USA Basketball three-day minicamp.
Harris, a former standout at Half Hollow Hills West who signed a four-year, $64 million deal to stay with the Orlando Magic last month, is playing alongside LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, James Harden and Stephen Curry, among others as a member of the 34-player roster.
“It’s really exciting for me,” Harris said after practice on Tuesday. “It’s something I’d never take for granted to be here among the best of the best.
“I’m definitely learning a lot. There are a lot of Hall of Famers out there, and I’m just taking it all in. I’ll be continuing to work hard, continuing to pick people’s brains and take that back with me.”
Harris, a native of Islip, faces a tough battle to make the final 12-player roster for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, given the amount of talent, especially among the forwards, attending the minicamp. Harris, however, has experience with the national team. He was a member of the 2014 USA select team that trained with and against the 2014 USA national team that won gold at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
“Everybody here has a legitimate shot to make this team,” Harris said. “So it’s definitely a goal for me and something I’m going to work hard for. It will depend a lot on how guys play during the season, and that will dictate the roster we have. So it’s something that is not unreachable.”
Harris, 23, averaged 17.1 points and 6.3 rebounds last season, both improvements over his career averages. He also shot 46.6 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from 3-point range last season. His 3-point shooting percentage was the best of his career.
“There is a lot in my game that I can get better at,” Harris said. “My playmaking, I can get better at that, and I’ve been putting myself in those types of situations to get better.”