Back to back memorable seasons by Baldwin’s girls’ varsity basketball team was capped off with a treat. Forward for the Los Angeles Clippers, Tobias Harris, a Long Island native, dropped in to meet with the team and hand out some new Nikes in celebration.
Harris walked into the high school cafeteria May 24 holding several boxes of shoes and congratulated the Lady Bruins before talking to them about the importance of hard work. He added that they’ll always remember these days with their team, “What you did should be cherished,” he said. “You should be celebrated.”
Baldwin became the fifth Long Island public school team to win a Federation championship on March 24, capping off the second of two undefeated seasons. After speaking to the girls, Harris’ younger brother, Tyler, who played for the Windy City Bulls, a NBA G-League team, last year, entered with a second collection of Nikes. These were running shoes, the first pair that all the players received were the newest signature basketball shoe by Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant, the KDXs.
“Tobias loves to give back to the Long Island Basketball family,” said Lady Bruins head coach Tom Catapano. “When he found out what the kids did he wanted to reach out and show this appreciation.”
Harris attended Half Hollow Hills High School West and Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School in Brookville. He played one year at the University of Tennessee and was drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft.
The Clippers are the fourth team that Harris has played for, he was traded by Detroit in a deal for Blake Griffin at the deadline. Last season he averaged a career high 18.6 points on 46 percent shooting, including an efficient 41 percent from three-point range on more than five attempts a game.
Growing up, Harris was occasionally coached by Baldwin’s boys’ varsity coach, Darius Burton, and contacted him as soon as he saw the girls had won, “I was following them the whole way,” said Harris.
Sophomore Elena Randolph said that she wanted to ask Harris how he adjusted to each level of competition, “How did his work ethic help him to continue on from level to level,” she said. “And what things stayed the same throughout high school, college and going pro?”
Both the Lady Bruins and Harris will have high expectations next year, as Baldwin goes for the three-peat and Harris looks to earn a big deal by continuing to improve during the last year of his current contract.