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Torrel Harris Talks With Us About His Son’s Visit to UK’s Big Blue Madness

Tobias Harris and his family left Lexington earlier today and,  at some point thereafter, Torrel Harris sent me a text message which read: “Fans were UNBELIEVABLE!” That message got me really excited to hear what kind of experience he had, since he was able to get an up-close and personal look as his son visited the University of Kentucky, the nation’s most glorified basketball program, on probably one of the most historic dates in the University’s long history. Later in the day I received a call from Torrel and got the chance to pick his brain about just what that unique experience entailed.

Torrel told me a story about Tobias’ earlier trip to Maryland’s Midnight Madness two years ago, where Gary Williams came driving out in a White Lamborghini. That trip left a lasting impression on the younger Harris, but after Friday night’s experience, Torrel asked his son, “Out of all your visits to Midnight Madnesses, which one is your favorite?” Tobias quickly answered that Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness had now taken over the top spot.

Here’s some of the other highlights of our discussion:

DR: What all did you guys do through your first day there on Friday?

Torrel Harris: We got there on Friday. Then after the Madness, we didn’t really do nothing. We went back to the hotel and Tobias went and played ping-pong and hung out with the guys.

DR: What did Tobias say about hanging out with the guys? Did he have a good time?

Torrel Harris: Yeah, the guys are great. He got along real good with the guys. They played ping-pong and just hung out at the [Joe B Hall Wildcat] Lodge. Him, Kyrie, Michael Gilchrist, Achraf went out there. It was cool. He had a real good time out there.

DR: Who hosted Tobias while he was there?

Torrel Harris: I think Patrick Patterson was his host.

DR: After Friday Night, what did you guys do the rest of the weekend?

Torrel Harris: Saturday we watched practice at 9 in the morning. From 9 o’ clock to 11. After that, we all went and met with the academic advisor, Michael Stone. Then we went back to the practice and watched the second workout and practice. We just hung out there and watched. Practice was great and Cal is great. He’s going to get this team top notch. And then after that we went back to the hotel and then went to get dinner in the evening time. Patrick Patterson and the staff were at dinner. Then Sunday we just went to breakfast with the staff and went to practice and then left to go catch our flight. Oh yeah, after dinner on Saturday Tobias went back and hung out with the guys again. He just went and hung out with them in the Lodge. Yeah, so it was a good trip. It was really pretty good. Lot of excitement down there at Kentucky. Big time…Big time!!

DR: As far as seeing the team play and getting to see the team practice, what kind of feel did you guys get for how Tobias would fit in with this system here at Kentucky?

Torrel Harris: He would fit in good with the dribble drive offense. He can hit the jump shot, he can shoot from outside, he can handle. Yeah that dribble drive offense is good. It’s a good offense. Coach Cal, you know, he’s just a good coach and that’s the bottom line, he’s just a great coach. You gotta hit that outside jump shot in that dribble drive offense, and you gotta penetrate. If he can do those things, then that offense is a perfect fit for you, if you can do those things.

DR: Anything else that just really stood out to guys during the visit?

Torrel Harris: The fans stood out. I mean, they were just UN-BE-LIEVE-ABLE. And then just the teaching techniques of the staff, of Coach Cal and of just his whole staff. For me, that stood out. That stood out for Tobias too. You can tell the fans are unbelievable. I videotaped the whole thing and you can tell man, they LOVE their UK basketball. 24,000 fans up there for Madness, man that is unbelievable. So, I mean, it was great man, it was great.

DR: What did Tobias have to say about the fans?

Torrel Harris: Unbelievable.

DR: So what about your wife? I know that she wasn’t able to make it last time so what did she think about the visit?

Torrel Harris: She’s impressed with the academics and everything. She’s impressed with Coach Calipari. So she’s impressed. The bottom line is that I could love it, she could love it but the ultimate is Tobias and his decision that he makes. I mean you can’t go wrong when you get a coach like Coach Calipari. You just can’t go wrong, you know? Great guy, great family man, Christian man. You just can’t go wrong. Cal’s the man! He’s a great guy.

DR: At this point in the visits, has there been anybody that Tobias has said to you that he liked more than the others or are they still all getting equal treatment?

Torrel Harris: All the schools that we picked for the final 7, he loved all those schools so he’s just taking his time and analyzing this trip and four more trips after that and then after the last one, which is Georgia Tech, then he’s going to try to make a decision if he feels comfortable that he can make a decision. Or if he feels like he wants to wait and watch the college season first and spend more time on it, he might because we really want to make sure. But I think he’s going to make a decision before the November 18th signing period. …All indications are that he wants to make a decision before his high school basketball season starts, which is the 18th.

Article written by Dustin Rumbaugh

I enjoy basketball, Kentucky sports and extremely short walks on the beach, followed by a nap. Sorry ladies, I'm taken.

56 responses to “Torrel Harris Talks With Us About His Son’s Visit to UK’s Big Blue Madness”

  1. RKA

    What a Weekend!!!!!!!!!

  2. BigBluebanner8

    well at least we know where his dad would go LOL…..I’m sure Tobias feels the same way great info as always DR

  3. Old Henry Man

    Sounds good, I hope the young man got to see teh campus and everything he wanted to see.

  4. kyeric


  5. Stormcat35

    Well, it looks like he’s a big Tim Couch fan….that’s a good sign for UK. Oh, it says “Jim Couch”, my bad.

  6. Gogh Big Bleu

    Wow, I don’t think this interview could sound any better.

  7. macon_volfan

    I think his dad is pretty honest and straight forward. He had some good things to say about UT as well. Dad was a sport agent, and is running his sons’ recruitment like a business. I think Tobias will ultimately end up playing the zone for Boeheim, but I for one would like to see him wear Tennessee orange rather than the Syracuse variety….

  8. gcat4496

    #7. Lets get one thing straight. UT will be getting the left over recruits now. All the “Best of the Best” want to play for the “Best” college, with the “Best” Coach, with the “Best” fans. UT is a Football school. Mens BB is and will always be an after thought in Knoxville. You know sort like it is in Gainesville. Top players want to play where they are being developed as future NBA prospects. Question, how many NBA players has Pearl developed and put in the NBA? Oh, I see. So, any top recruits going to UT can expect 4 years of college and hopefully they can play in Europe. They come to UK and play for Cal they will be lottery picks in the NBA.

  9. mocha

    DR you never let us down with the inside scoop, great work.
    I feel good about Tobias…especially after reading these quotes.
    What a great kid and player…..and to think he seems to be wanting to make a decision before Nov. 18…that’s only one month folks!
    #7….no more references to UT or you will be forever banished from this site!!! 🙂

  10. BigCatDaddy4263

    Very nice Dustin, as always, a great article about recruiting….

  11. macon_volfan

    oh, I forgot…sorry. UK snaps their paws and gets whomever they want, and the rest of us get the sloppy seconds. How silly of me…

    I’ll take the left overs who stay for 4 years over the ‘best of the best’ who couldn’t care less about the UK tradition and only want to use it as a stepping stone to the NBA. If you, as a fan of the once proud UK brand, can accept that, then so be it. But it’s ignorant and elitist to think how you do, although I suspect it’s simply message board boasting. Kids will go where they feel comfortable and will go where they can play. See Mr. Cobb from Alcoa, TN. He (at the time) was told he wouldn’t play immediately, so he chose UK. It was THE BEST choice for him. UT is indeed a football school, so why would he chose UK? As far as it being an after thought, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Since UK fans are big on history, let’s bring up some. Sure, UK is the class of the SEC, but old Stokley was a rocking place to watch a game in the 60’s-80’s. It wasn’t until UT had a consistent string of losing teams (and an athletic director who didn’t care for basketball) that alot of the fan base lost interest. UT fans simply want a competitive product put on the floor. Now that it’s there, UT is 4th in the nation (4 years running) in attendance. Not too bad for an ‘after thought..”

    Also, why do you think UK has the ‘best’ college? Not as good as Transylvania. And about equal to UT (but better than Miss. St) UK has the best ‘fans’? I’d argue they’re no better or no more passionate than any other elite program, crazier perhaps but not better. “Best” coach? Please. Not at all saying Pearl is the best but he’s .500 against your coach, and he had DANE BRADSHAW at PF for 2 of those games…..

    I’m not looking to start a fight, nor was I with my original comment. Sure I’ll here the ‘your (sic) a UT fan, go away” or ‘what do you know about basketball’ comments, but I didn’t come looking for them. I just wanted to talk basketball and gave an opinion that never even mentioned Kentucky.

  12. macon_volfan

    #9–somebody was live blogging last night 😉

  13. buddyblue62

    tobias in blue would be nice.GO BIG BLUE

  14. P.PattersonISwalkingthruthatdoor

    relax macon, he obv doesn’t come here for logical, useful sports conversation like you do. don’t let him rile you up.

  15. macon_volfan

    #14–thanks, just to clarify

    UK is a fine school.
    ‘Crazy fans’ are not a negative.
    Dane Bradshaw should never be considered a real PF.

  16. SagaciousMind

    Players may not realize the history, but once they arrive on campus they are quickly stormed with it. These players know what it means to were Kentucky across their chest and what it means to the fans. Now, if we have Lance Stephensons and players like that, then it definitely wouldnt matter to them no matter what. But Coach Cal doesnt go after those kinda guys. He goes after guys like Harris who are well rounded kids. From now on, Coach Cal is pretty much goin to get whomever he wants…maybe a few every now and then we dont get, but overall, with his offense and stuff…recruiting is not an issue anymore.

  17. tblake

    Looks like a nerd fight is breaking out!!

  18. macon_volfan

    #17-I make too much money to have a nerd fight.

  19. P.PattersonISwalkingthruthatdoor

    (18) too bad my dad could beat up your dad

  20. Old Henry Man

    I think the Tennessee dude made a good comment. I like having other peoples thoughts on the Board.
    But Pearl was not even .500 against Billy G. Pearl is in a perfect place for him.

  21. believeblue

    Who the hell hacked the site and put Duke shirts for sale on the left???

  22. macon_volfan


    Billy gave Pearl fits, just like Pearl gives Billy D fits. UT has only lost to UF once since Pearl has been at UT. Match ups and style of play are big factors. Pearl v Cal was a fun, competitive game to watch, and I suspect will continue to be in the future. I’m glad Cal is at UK, as I don’t think Memphis should be considered a true rival. The longer he stayed at Memphis, the more hyped that rivalry became.

  23. Old Henry Man

    #21 I agree, ESPN pushes Duke and now our website

  24. believeblue

    21 What’s next…..Officially licensed Jerry Tipton clothes. We’ve been sold out!!! lol

  25. kyeric

    Winston Bennetts ad just took a hot dump on the Dook sweatshirts for sale.

  26. believeblue

    26) That explains the look on his face in the top pic. lol

  27. lexslamman

    Next year we lose Patterson, Stevenson and probably Cousins.

    Tobias Harris could see a ton of PT here if he wanted it.

  28. UKFan14

    Great post Dustin!!! Keep it up!

  29. Dennis

    I think Big Cuz is a great prospect. I do wonder if he is mature enough to be a one-and-done. Maybe!

  30. mocha

    11 – Coach Cal would disagree with your statement about “I’ll take the left overs who stay for 4 years over the ‘best of the best’”….
    UK from now on will take talent over experience every time, per Cal’s speech….

  31. mocha

    18 – classic line, “i make too much money to have a nerd fight”…..well played sir!!! nice one.. i laughed out loud.

  32. macon_volfan

    #32-glad you enjoyed. That was my intention 😉

    #31-Cal might want that, but what about the majority of UK fans? not trying to stir anything here, I promise. Let’s say UK takes the #1/2 recruit at each position every year, but they always leave after 1 year and then go ride the bench for 15 mil in the NBA. UT (or whoever) takes the #15ish player at each position and they stay for 3-4 years. I think over time that other team will do pretty well. UK would, of course, win some. But I think those sloppy seconds wouldn’t look too bad.

  33. Dennis

    Macon_Volfan. I’m being serious here, If Bruce Pearl doesn’t get Scotty Hopson going this year, Do you think future 5-star recruits will want to play for Pearl? Big recruits want to play in the NBA and Pearl has no track record of helping them get there. Just Sayin

  34. believeblue

    34) As long as 1 and 2 are playing with 11 other top 50 players, I would say that we will be just fine in that scenario. I think the majority of UK fans, just wanna hang banners. (and don’t turn that on me)(Yes we want to do it fair and honest)

  35. mocha

    For the first time in my life as a UK fan, I completely do not worry about recruiting anymore.
    I have a good feeling just sitting back and watching Cal go to work.
    If he wants to bring in one and done players, so be it.
    If he wants to bring in players with them who might stay a few years, ala Bledsoe and Orton, so be it.
    Volfan does make good points though about UT, they will be fine with the players they have….Cal just has a different recruiting style
    and quite honestly (nothing bad intended against Bruce Pearl) will be able to bring in higher profile players…..
    I agree with everyone’s points though, but as Jones has said many times, I no longer worry at all about recruiting.
    It’s fun for me as a fan to sit back and watch these high profile guys waltz into town….

  36. macon_volfan

    #36, I’m not a fan who thinks that Cal is (too) slimy. I think you can win fair and squarish. But winning with journeymen players who care not for UK but Nike and NBA glory can’t be as satisfying as winning with a Lexington kid like Cameron Mills and other 4 year guys can it? Just thinking out loud.

    Also, #35-great point. Honestly, I think Pearl does a better job with guys who have something to prove, and not the 5 star guys. He made Dane Bradshaw look like an all star. His first UT team went from #6 in the SEC (and no NIT) to a (somewhat undeserved) 2 seed in the dance. There were no big time recruits on that team. I’d be happy with a team of scrappy, hard working 3 and 4 stars who play above their potential.

  37. mocha

    38 love that point….and that word….scrappy! i love scrappy guys, ala mills, ala padgett…..
    I love seeing guys like Jorts and Slone (RIP) diving after balls (that’s what she said) and making plays….

  38. AssistByJohnWall

    #38 – macon_volfan – Your telling yourself what you want to hear so that it sounds good to yourself. It’s a real pile of crap.

    Your team sucks. Regardless of how you try to spin it for easy digestion.

  39. Dennis

    Macon_Volfan I’m not a big fan of Bruce Pearl but I don’t hate him either. He coached at the University of Southern Indiana, about 30 minutes from me, and he always brought in lesser known guys. He won a couple D-2 National Titles with that recruiting strategy. So, I’ve seen him be successful with that on a smaller level.

  40. macon_volfan

    #40-It’s not 1992, and UT’s coach isn’t Wade Houston. The Vols don’t suck. Might not win the East, but they’ll split with UK. And as long as Pearl is the Coach, they won’t suck. And I’m not saying anything but the truth in my posts.

  41. macon_volfan

    also, I got the your (sic) comment I predicted above.

  42. AssistByJohnWall

    At no time has Pearl ever had “a team of scrappy, hard working 3 and 4 stars who play above their potential.” Nor will he ever have that.

    Pearl recruits the wrong players if that’s what you want. That’s why it won’t happen.

    Effort isn’t a word that could be used to describe Tennessee on a basketball court with Pearl as coach. If you disagree, then your lying to yourself.

  43. Flop


  44. Flop

    Kid has got some big hands…

  45. macon_volfan

    #41-going to address your word choice for a second. Hate. Glad you don’t hate him, but why would you? People throw that word around alot on this site (and on UT sites too). It’s sport. Why wouldn’t anyone HATE the coach of an opposing team? It’s a job. Why would anyone hate a player for an opposing team? Why would anyone place judgment on a person (ie all Vol players are thugs) because they play for a team you don’t cheer for. Why would anyone hate me?

    I was just talking with the mom of my school’s QB today at the store. Talking about how she has noticed that college sports has changed a lot. I agree. I can’t put my finger on it, but as I’ve gotten older, I find it somewhat insane that I would put some much of my self worth into something that is decided by 18-21 year olds. I used to cry when UT lost a football game. When I was like 9 or 10. I looked up to those guys, as they were older. Now that I’m 31 and could have potentially taught them in school (right Matthew?) it’s a totally different thing. Sure I enjoy watching, but why let irrational emotion take over. Dennis I know you didn’t mean it that way, but I’m sure there are some Vol fans who ‘hate’ Coach Cal. There are UK fans who ‘hate’ Pearl. Based on some of the unpublished comments from the live blog last night, I’m sure there are those out there who ‘hate’ me. I would just like to know why?

  46. macon_volfan

    CJ Watson, Dane Bradshaw, Chris Lofton, and former walk on JaJuan Smith disagree with you #44. UT’s team last year was the worst in the Pearl era, with (on paper) the best players. I think Pearl is better suited for the players who need to prove something.

    There was times last year when effort was lacking from the vols. But I saw nothing but hustle the first 3 years.

  47. AssistByJohnWall

    Macon – Pearl is a lower teir of what Cal.

    Neither are “great” coaches. They are both decent coaches. Cal’s the best recruiter in the business. Pearl just wishes Cal didn’t exist, because he can’t out recruit him.

    Neither will convince a Demarcus Cousins to dive on the floor for a loose ball. So as long as they recruit kids like that then we will see less of what makes college basketball special. Thankfully, we get kids like Wall, Hood, and Orton, who would probably dive into the 10th row for a loose ball.

    You guys can’t get calibur guys who give it all.

    There are exceptions, but the rule maintains otherwise.

  48. Dennis

    I didn’t mean the “hate” which you were commenting about. I meant it in the way people might “hate” their rivals in sports. You know, not the “kill em” hate.

  49. njcat54

    Cal will likely always have a blend of one and done freshmen to play w/ more experienced players – like he did at Memphis. My prediction is that this year’s team has two freshmen that will leave, and the other four recruits will stick around for at least two more years… and all of them are top 50. Seems like a pretty good recruiting strategy that combines the best talent on a roster that will always have experienced players. And he will also attract kids like PPat who are top 10 and want to get a degree.

    Critics who warn that Kentucky’s tradition will be spoiled by Cal’s recruiting philosophy are just throwing barbs because they are either jealous or petrified, or both.

  50. macon_volfan

    #48- I know that’s what you meant, but I’d imagine if given a chance, some UT fan would most certainly kill Nick Saban out of hate. If a UK fan killed Pearl it could at least be classified as a hate crime (since Pearl is a Jew…)

  51. Dennis

    #50 That last statement made me laugh. Pearl is really Jewish?

  52. mocha

    47. i would take bets all day long that cousins will dive for a loose ball. why would you say he wouldn’t?
    i get the feeling this year that the kids know what they’ve got at their fingertips and they will ALL do whatever it takes to win,
    even if it means Big Cuz diving for a loose ball.

  53. » BBL: Could Harris and Irving both end up at UK? John Clay’s Sidelines

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  54. sidsel_roine

    Who is Jim Couch?

  55. sidsel_roine

    nm, did my own research. Mr.Couch, a tip of the hat to you sir.

  56. Harris Talks BBM, Visits. - Page 3 - VolNation

    […] really do nothing. We went back to the hotel and Tobias went and played ping-pong…… Kentucky Sports Radio Blog Archive Torrel Harris Talks With Us About His Son’s Visit to UK&#82… The rest of the interview is interesting as well. His father gushed about Cal, which is not […]