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Monday, March 14, 2011

Q and A with Morehead State Standout and NCAA tourney player Demonte Harper

I was blessed with the opportunity of interviewing my former fellow Whites Creek alum and current Morehead State standout Demonte Harper. For those who haven’t been watching, Harper was named OVC conference tournament MVP after he scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the championship game against Tennessee Tech. Harper and fellow senior Kenneth Faried (Who is the leading the nation in rebounding at 14.6 a clip) lead the 13th seeded Eagles against in-state rival and 4th seeded Louisville in the Southwest regional being held in Denver. The Eagles (20-15) are in the tournament for the second time in three years.




My fondest memories of Harper are as a freshman at Whites Creek. He was a tall and lanky kid whose body had not quite caught up with him as far as height is concerned. I was a senior at the time and in some type of scheduling quirk, I had gym class with him. We played some inspired games and I could tell at that time that he had a chance to be a very good player. He would always play me tougher than the others in gym and that was including some other seniors that were so lucky to have gym like me as a senior. After I graduated and went on to college I lost contact with him. I heard about his success at my old high school as the team had made it to the state championship but I wasn’t able to attend those games as much as I had wanted too. A few years went by and as I am now finishing up school (I know it’s been awhile) I noticed that Demonte had earned a starting spot for Morehead State and was putting up some solid numbers for them as well. Harper’s minutes and points have increased every year for him, going from 3.7 points a game in 19 minutes as a freshman to 16 points a game in 37 minutes per contest as a senior. He showed off his scoring ability as he exploded for 35 points against the SIU-Edwardsville Cougars this season and dropped another 34 on Austin Peay.

It is a feel good story for me as far as being able to see him fulfilling the potential I noticed in him as a high-school freshman. It makes me proud as a former Whites Creek basketball alum to see Harper keeping the tradition of Whites Creek Cobra basketball alive.



Harper with the block in the above photo.
Now for a few questions on Harper as Morehead State as they prepare for battle against the Cardinals this Thursday.



Question: What is your first take on Louisville?



Answer: They are similar to us in that they like to get up and down the floor like us and it should make for an exciting game.




Q: Do you think playing in the high altitude of Denver will affect your teams approach, as you guys usually go about 7 deep?



A: Maybe a little bit. Coach (Donnie Tyndall) has instructed us to drink more water but other than that I think we will be ok.



Q: Do you think you guys will be rusty since you haven’t played in two weeks?



A: We had a few days off but we have had some tough practices and I definitely think we will be prepared.



Q: Did playing Louisville and going 1-9 in 37 minutes two years ago as a sophomore help as far as scouting and experience are concerned?



A: Definitely, when I played them as sophomore I got a feel for their style of play. This time I should be ready to make more of a contribution




Q: How does it feel to be playing in the hotbed of college hoops in Kentucky?



A: It can be overwhelming to play in front of 20,000 people as we did when we traveled to the University of Kentucky in Lexington, but this is an experienced team that isn’t afraid of the moment.



Q: Did playing Florida to within 6 points of the win help build confidence in playing another big time program such as Louisville?



A: We played them tough but we just had a bad shooting night. Things could have been different had we shot better. It does give us confidence knowing that we are a capable team



Q: They say momentum is the most underrated aspect of the tourney, you guys won 13 of 14 entering the tourney, and does it give you guys an extra bump entering the big dance?



A: Yeah definitely, I think the momentum we are taking with us in the tournament will carry over and give us an additional boost.



Q: How was it to be to get the chance to play in-front of friends and family in OVC tourney here in Nashville? And speaking of Nashville as you being a native of the city did you feel any extra pressure to perform and represent for your city?



A: It was the greatest feeling in the world man. I played in the in the OVC tournament the last three years that it was held in Nashville and so its no pressure to me. I’m just happy to be able to perform in front on my family and friends.





Q; You have scored at least 25 points in your last two games, what has been your key to success in those games?



A: Just being aggressive man. I actually rather make my teammates better if it’s my scoring, rebounding or passing, just whatever I can do to help the team win.



Q: What current NBA player do you think your games most resembles?



A: I would say Derrick Rose. I know I am not as fast as he is (Chuckles) but our styles are similar in attacking the rim and getting up and down the floor.



Q: How do you and Kenneth Faried compliment each others game?



A: I think we compliment each other a lot. He is the best rebounder I have ever had the chance to play with. In my opinion I definitely think he is a first-round NBA pick. Maybe even lottery pick.




Q: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans in the city of Nashville?



A: Thanks for all the love and support from the city.

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