Thursday, January 03, 2008

Boys' Basketball

Relocation Situation Click

Given the choice between staying at Falls Church and taking over the vacant coaching position at rival Stuart last spring, Tony Harris gave his son Antonio the final say.

"I don't have to take this position," Harris told his son, a 6-foot-2 guard who averaged 13.5 points per game at Falls Church last season as a freshman.

But Antonio Harris chose Stuart, and he, his father and two other players left Falls Church to join its crosstown rival, where the sophomore's 20.3 points per game have the Raiders on pace for their first winning season this decade.

When Stuart (6-3, 1-0 Virginia AAA National District) visits Falls Church (0-10, 0-1) tonight, Harris and his son will look to continue a season of revival that has come at the expense of the winless Jaguars, who lost their coach, star player and two role players in the transfer, not to mention 10 players to graduation.

"I took the job at J.E.B. Stuart and my son happened to be the best player at Falls Church and, quite naturally, he would want to play for his father at whatever high school [his father] would go to," said Tony Harris, who filed for a transfer waiver for his son, which was approved. "It's not like we left Falls Church to go to [a stronger program such as] T.C. Williams. We left Falls Church to go to a team that was slightly better, if better at all. It was a lateral move."

Both Stuart and Falls Church were 4-18 last season and have combined for a 43-151 record since 2004. In that time, neither team has won more than seven games in a season.

"I would never expect Antonio to stay at Falls Church," said Jaguars Coach T.C. Papageorge, who played for Harris at Falls Church and is the program's fourth coach in eight seasons. "It just wouldn't make sense. He grew up playing for Tony and should be playing for Tony. We are really working toward a bigger picture with the kids we have in our program."

-- By B.J. Koubaroulis, Special to The Washington Post

1 comment:

TBax said...

Interesting article and I'm happy to see the issue addressed in the Post. However, Falls Church lost only 4 players to graduation, not ten. Two starters went to Stuart along with a JV player from last year. One varsity player transferred to W&L. Another chose not to play this year. That accounts for 8 varsity players from last year not returning to the team this year.

It's one thing for a coach to take his son with him to another school. But in the public school world you have to wonder how the other two players could so easily follow.

At any rate, both Stuart and Falls Church face uphill battles in the sports world -- the challenges faced by those schools are probably not matched elsewhere in the Northern Region. So I wish Stuart luck on a winning season.