Our eighth Mid-Majority Baller Of The Week is Michael Harris of the Rice
Owls, who also happens to be the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week as well. The 6-6, 240-lb. senior power forward wants to let everyone know that Rice isn't just about baseball, and wishes to end the Owls' 35-year Tournament absence in their final WAC season (they'll be in the Conference USA caravan). He made his first major non-verbal statement to that effect on Saturday, when he bedeviled outgoing MMBOW Paul Millsap
with 27 points and 14 rebounds, as Rice applied a 78-57 atomic wedgie to Louisiana Tech
. He also dub-dubbed against Southern Methodist
last week, going 16 and 13 - add the two games up, and Rice has raced out to a 2-0 conference record. Their tilt this Thursday against Texas-El Paso
(the only WAC school that fancies itself too big for next month's Bracket Buster Saturday) remains the Mid-Majority's Your-Company-Name-Here Spotlight Special for this week (if such a thing existed).
Last season, Michael averaged almost a double-double (18 points and 9 rebounds), and led the conference with 270 buckets that were primarily scored from the painted area of the court he so fondly calls home. Earlier this season, he scored 31 of the Owls' whopping school-record 113 points against a Grambling State
team that figures to finish in the middle of the SWAC (as in, this wasn't Virginia Intermont
or anything). When they lost by "only" nine points to defending national champions Connecticut
on December 19, he forced UConn to rotate fresh bodies on him and still tallied 27 and grabbed 9. His game is all about dunks, layups, rebounds and throwing his ass around Barkley-style, but he doesn't embarrass himself from the perimeter: over his past two seasons, he's had a three-point look about once every other game, and has converted on half of them.Michael LaTrent Harris
went to Hillsboro High in Hillsboro, Texas (about half an hour south of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex), and averaged a monstrous 27 points and 19 rebounds a game in his senior season. The eventual WAC Freshman of the Year didn't attract too much recruiting attention from outside the Texahoma region, but was chased by Baylor
, Oklahoma State
and Stephen F. Austin
before choosing Rice. Next year, you just might see him in an NBA uniform - even if the Association's strict cookie-cutter body requirements force him to surreptitiously slip two-inch insoles into his sneaks.