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WATCH | LH’s charge-taking machine signs with Tech

by Bryan Rice | May 13, 2023 at 4:03 a.m.
Lake Hamilton senior basketball player Charter Harris stands in Wolf Arena Wednesday. Harris will join Arkansas Tech University as a preferred walk-on. - Photo by Bryan Rice of The Sentinel-Record

PEARCY -- In his senior season, Charter Harris averaged eight points, seven rebounds and three assists per game for the Lake Hamilton Wolves.

"Charter was here in seventh grade and left and went to Lakeside," Wolves head coach Scotty Pennington said. "He was at Lakeside through his sophomore year. When they decided to move back out here that was big for us. That gave us a guy with some size with that group. It made us a lot harder to guard because he is so versatile as a big man."

Lake Hamilton (27-5, 13-3 5A South) had a dream season, making it to the Class 5A state championship game before dropping to conference foe Pine Bluff 67-51.

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"It was big for this group as far as what they were able to accomplish having him back," Pennington said. "I know for a fact we do not do what we did if he is not here."

Arkansas Tech offered Harris a preferred walk-on spot on the basketball team.

"My parents are excited for me," Harris said. "They like that I am going to play basketball. My aunt actually played there and was on the national runner-up team there."

Harris is taking his talents to Arkansas Tech. Most young men coming out of high school take the full ride. Harris chose the road less traveled, which shows a lot about his character and ability to overcome the odds.

"It feels good," Harris said. "I went up there and practiced with their players and toured their campus. I feel good about going up there. I like their campus, coaches and their players. I am just excited to see where things go."

There are big differences between high school and college practices.

"At Tech we practiced a little bit," Harris said. "Then we ran 5-on-5. The biggest difference was tempo of how they played. It was just nonstop. I felt like I held my own just fine up there. They are a lot older than me. I am young for my grade. They are up to five years older than me and lot bigger. It is all for the better."

Harris will be battling as a preferred walk-on.

"He may be going as a preferred walk-on but if Charter has his mind right and puts his mind to it, he will leave there a scholarship player there is no doubt in my mind," Pennington said. "He has the potential to go there and play and play early I think."

Harris turned down a full-ride offer from National Park College to pursue a higher classification of basketball.

"I could have come to NPC," Harris said. "I wanted to get away from here and I also wanted to be around those guys who have been through a lot, as far as having a lot of experience. I just felt like going up there would really put me in a place where I would have to work as hard as I can to be able to earn that spot."

Pennington highlighted Harris' ability.

"To me he has not even scratched the surface of how good he can be," Pennington said. "He started to figure it out a little bit this year, but he could be one that could be even better in college three years from now.

"I feel like Tech will treat him right. As a walk-on you have to earn every inch."

Arkansas Tech's Wonder Boys compete at the NCAA Division II level in the Great American Conference, matching up with teams like Southern Arkansas University, the future home of Harris' teammate Zac Pennington.

From teammates to conference rivals, Zac Pennington and Harris have begun having fun at each others' expense.

"We are playing in the same conference," Harris said. "Zac is going to keep getting his work from me."

"3-0 last year," Zac Pennington said with a chuckle as he walked by.

Playing center, the 6-foot-5-inch Harris led the team in charges taken this season, collecting 44.

"Kids that will give their body up like that as a coach you keep a special place in your heart for those guys," Scotty Pennington said. "You know they are giving you everything they have got. They will do anything to win. If he continues to develop he could play multiple spots. I could see him playing 2-5 for them."

Harris is no stranger to taking charges.

"We go over it a couple of times in practice, as far as taking charges," Harris said. "I have done that all of my life. I have mastered it. Most of my teammates do not really like doing it. The experience I have just helps me a lot."

There is no doubt the Wolves will miss Harris and his contributions to the team.

"Charter wanted to do whatever was best for the team for us to be able to win in his senior year," Scotty Pennington said. "When we were special is when Charter was also scoring inside and being a threat."

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