Saturday, Penn basketball coach Jerome Allen and his staff landed their third recruit in six days with the addition of guard Julian Harrell.
Rated an 86 by ESPN, the 6-foot-5 swingman from Los Angeles listed Penn, Stanford, Duquesne and St. Mary’s — all of which had offered — among his top schools, but he had plenty of reasons to join the Quakers.
THE BUZZ: More from Julian Harrell
One of them, according to Harrell, was his strong relationship with Penn’s standout sophomore guard Miles Cartwright, whom he has known since he was five years old. Harrell played alongside Cartwright for Loyola High School, where he currently teams up with Cartwright’s younger brother, Parker.
Harrell’s AAU coach, Gary Franklin, also posited that the relationship with Cartwright, whom he coached as well, was a “big factor.”
“Julian, I know, looks up to Miles. I’ve seen the interaction,” the California Supreme coach said, before adding, “[And] I think, especially when you look at some of the West Coast kids, leaving the West Coast going to the East Coast, it helps to have some familiar faces there.”
Harrell’s impact, like Cartwright’s last year, could be immediate. He will fill a need at the shooting guard/wing position after this year graduates seniors Tyler Bernardini and Rob Belcore, who averaged a combined 53.3 minutes per game last season.
“[The coaches] were telling me that they think that I can come in and make an impact right away but, of course, being the great coaches that they are, they told me nothing would be given to me,” Harrell said.
But to hear Franklin rattle off Harrell’s strengths — including his competitiveness, winning mentality and ability to penetrate and create off the dribble — minutes may very well come quickly for the future Quaker.
“Of course at that level and that size, you won’t be getting to the basket as much as you can [at] the high-school level,” Franklin said. “But I think, ‘Hey, he’s a competitor and he’ll figure it out.’ He’ll find a way to have the opportunity to be on the floor.”
Before he can even earn playing time, though, Harrell will be working on several key areas of his game.
“I think the number one thing is strength. I consider myself … a bigger guard, but I do want to keep putting on size,” said the 190-pounder, who hopes to hit the 200 mark by next year.
He will also work to improve on what some have deemed Harrell’s weakness: outside shooting.
“I want [my outside stroke] to become a dead-eye three-point shot. That’ll make me even that more versatile.”
If he can do that, Harrell will be playing alongside his “big brother” Miles very soon on the Palestra floor.
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