Hyrum Harris is embarking on his first year as a professional but you would never guess that watching the way he operates on the basketball court.

That's because Harris belongs to the sought-after species of players who leave nothing in the tank when asked to perform myriad duties during the Sal's National Basketball League (NBL).

"I tried to go back to [American] college but I couldn't pick up any offers," says the 21-year-old from Hamilton who is making his debut with the Taylor Corporation Hawks this season.

The Hawke's Bay franchise team play their first double header with a 7pm tip off against Go Media Jets at Ballroom Arena Manawatu today and then reload against Augusta Taranaki Mountainairs at the same time at the TSB Stadium, New Plymouth, tomorrow.


Ask Harris to define himself as a player, he replies: "I'm just real aggressive. I like to give it my everything type of player who is kind of an almost bully."

He considers "hustling" as his most sound attribute, with passing not far off, but shooting isn't his forte just yet.

He is just happy the Hawks chalked up a win first up, 92-84, against SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks in the NBL opener last Thursday but feels they still have a lot to work on individually and collectively.

Under the tutelage of Hawks coach Zico Coronel he appreciates he has just as good an opportunity as anyone else to show his prowess.

He had got on the court for 16 minutes, eking out six points and seven rebounds, including four defensive ones at the Pettigrew-Green Arena last Thursday.

Embracing the impending challenges in the NBL this winter is high on his agenda and the marquee teams will become the litmus test for him.

Keen on playing basketball in the key, Harris wants to sharpen up his lay-up skills.

The Jarrod Kenny-captained side had clinical shooting from outside, he says, and the defence was good but they have been working on their rebounding this week


The Hawks found lots of love from the rim, sinking 13 times from outside the arc.

While Australian import centre Angus Brandt was fouled out within 15 minutes in the much-anticipated face-off with Sharks counterpart Alex Pledger, he should make the most of the match up against a young Callum McRae tonight.

The Jets, returning after a two-season hiatus, have had the wood on the Hawks in five of the previous six outings but it'll be an upset of gargantuan odds if they prevail tonight.

The Airs' first home game tomorrow, of course, will be a slightly sterner test considering they boast a similar record to the Jets against the visitors.

Harris is coming off a three-season stint with the 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers but has no qualms about coming out of his comfort zone.

"I just wanted a change to see what I was like on my own," says the swingman, who works part-time at William Colenso College as a teacher aide.

Coronel and his maternal uncle, Kazlo Evans, of Hamilton, are friends so Harris' name cropped up after the under-23 national tourney and the rest is history.

Former Rangers swingman Hyrum Harris says shooting is a work in progress for him on his debut with the Hawks this season. Photo / Photosport
Former Rangers swingman Hyrum Harris says shooting is a work in progress for him on his debut with the Hawks this season. Photo / Photosport

Apart from the lifestyle changes from the Big Smoke to here, Harris says the likes of forward Dillon Boucher and versatile guard Dylan Tait boasted heaps of experience with the Rangers.

"I feel like our Hawks team are fairly young — we have JK and Everard Bartlett — but we're still very young so that's probably the biggest difference for me."

Coronel says Harris was one of the standout players at the pre-season Blitz in Palmy North a fortnight ago for someone who picked up an injury last season with the Rangers after three games and then didn't really find his way back into coach Jeff Green's rotation.

"His great strength is his versatility so he can play at [number] three or four and handles the ball very, very well."

Harris can perform the role of a point guard and hustle but Coronel feels he is more pronounced as a No 4.

However, the player emphasises by no means are the Hawks going to look through them tonight.

His parents, Allies Evans and Reuben Harris, have supported him since he found traction with the game an 8-year-old when some cousins asked him to join them for a scrimmage.

The former Fraser High School pupil had won basketball scholarships to Mary Knoll (2012-13) and Kahuku (2014-15) high schools in Hawaii. He then attended Umpqua Community (junior) College in Oregon in the United States in a similar vein in 2015-16.