Western Nebraska Community College's Trent Harris spent three seasons with the Cougars improving his basketball skills and now all that hard work paid off as the Scottsbluff High product will be playing for the University of Northern Colorado for the next two seasons.
Northern Colorado, a Division I program, won 26 games a year ago and went on to win the CIT post-season tournament.
Harris said UNC has been talking to him all year and felt at home in attending the Greeley, Colorado, school.
"I have been talking to the coaches all year and they were one of the first schools to be recruiting me, so I felt I had a good relationship with the coaches," Harris said. "After watching them throughout the season, I felt like I fit in well with the team."
UNC head coach Jeff Linder is happy to welcome Harris to the Bear family.
"We're very excited that Trent Harris has decided to join our program and become a Bear. One of the key attributes that we look for in all of our players is the ability to shoot the ball so that we can stretch the floor and put maximal pressure on the opposing defense," Linder said in a press release. "Trent can shoot the ball from deep at a very high level, and he has proven that at one of the premier junior college programs in the country, Western Nebraska. Trent made 4 or more 3's on 11 occasions this past season, and his 3-point percentage at 48 percent was in the Top 20 in the country. More importantly, Trent is a tremendous student-athlete, and will be a perfect fit for how we're building our program here at UNC."
Harris had a couple of other schools on the list as well, including Minot State in North Dakota and Washburn University in Kansas, where his father Anthony went after he finished his playing days at WNCC. Harris said it wasn't hard to pick Northern Colorado over his dad's school either because his dad said it was his decision.
"I enjoyed going down there [Washburn] on a visit with my dad because he was telling me about when he was in college, and that was a good experience," he said. "But he told me it was my decision and he didn't want me to go there just because he went there. He really liked Northern Colorado as well. He thought I would have a good opportunity just like I thought."
This season, Harris average 13.3 points a game and shot 48.2 percent from the 3-point arc and 82 percent from the free throw line. Harris buried 94 treys last season in leading the Cougars to the Region IX championship and finished his Cougar career burying 141 3-pointers.
Harris said he improved a lot in his three seasons at WNCC. Harris spent his first year at WNCC as a gray-shirt player under then head coach Russ Beck before playing two years under current Cougar coach Cory Fehringer.
"I knew I had to really adapt from high school to when I got here," Harris said. "My first year I learned a lot when I sat out in getting more physical and all that stuff what Coach Beck taught me. When Coach Cory Fehringer got here he showed me the drills that I needed to do and gave me the tools to get my game to the next level. I felt like I got better since high school and my first year at WNCC."
WNCC head coach Cory Fehringer said Harris should fit in fine with the Bears. Fehringer said Harris gave them plenty of buckets in his two years on the court and was a model student-athlete in the classroom.
"I think the coaching staff felt, night in and night out, Trent was always one of the better guards on the floor, especially as far as consistency goes to defend, rebound, and to make baskets," Fehringer said. "In Trent's first year as a freshman, Trent had three game-winners in a row. He was already doing important things as a freshman. The one thing I can explain about Trent as he leaves our program, and we have to explain to other players how to be successful, is the ability to be unselfish and serve your team at a maximum level. And for Trent to come off the bench for two seasons and never whine, complain, or make excuses, but continue to help us to be successful and supporting his teammates, is another staple of why Trent will be successful at the Division I level and at Northern Colorado."
Last season Trent had a season-high 26 points, including six 3-pointers in a 106-73 win over Lamar Community College. In his two seasons at WNCC, Harris had 12 games of 20 or more points. He had three straight games of 20 points this past season and a streak of eight straight games of scoring in double figures.
Harris is the fourth WNCC men's basketball player to sign to play at the Division I level from the Region IX champions that went 1-1 at the national tournament.