Barnett Harris' life these days consists of getting up at 6:45 a.m., putting on a military uniform, getting into formation, keeping his room spotless, his shoes shined and his face clean-shaven.
But it's a life that Harris was willing to live to reach his ultimate goal -- a Division I basketball scholarship.
Harris, a former Gateway High School basketball player, is attending Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Va. A few days ago, Harris accepted a scholarship to the University of Delaware, an NCAA Division I school. He will sign a letter of intent with the Blue Hens next month during the NCAA's weeklong early signing period.
"It was a long journey [to get the Division I scholarship] and it was rough at times. I've been through some things with recruiting," said Harris, who graduated from Gateway in June. "But, all in all, I thank God that I'm in this position now. I'm grateful for this opportunity and I'm glad I can totally focus on the next step of my career."
Harris, a 6-foot-10 forward, was recruited by Division I schools while at Gateway, but he said "some things fell through." So after helping Gateway win a second consecutive WPIAL Class AAAA championship in March, he found himself with an uncertain college future. So this summer, he decided to attend Fishburne, a school with a three-year-old basketball program that has produced a number of Division I college players.
Since coming to Fishburne, Harris said he had about eight Division I scholarship offers, and he believes Fishburne has helped him tremendously. He lives a disciplined life as the basketball season is right around the corner.
"It's not that bad here. You get used to it," Harris said in a telephone interview. "It has helped me a lot. I've gotten way more mature here. As you may know, I wasn't the most disciplined individual on the court when I was in high school. I think I was always pretty mature off the floor, but not on the floor."
As for his reasons of choosing Delaware, Harris said: "I visited there and just thought it was a good situation, with everything from the coaching staff to the academics. ... They're picked second this year in the [Colonial Athletic Association], which is an up-and-coming conference."
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