UVa did lose to UNC dropping the Cavaliers to 18-7. Without Joe Harris most would say they wouldn't be close to that record and in the past six games the sharp-shooter has been on a tear, in an attempt to get UVa back to the NCAA Tournament.
He'll be the first to tell you shooting starts with your feet. He calls it "fighting for your feet." "It's really important to get your feet squared up to the basket. That's the first thing as a shooter I think about and it's something that our coaching staff has done a good job with all of us and the rest - as long as I can get my eyes set on the rim I think I have a good shot at it going in," he said after UVa's win over Virginia Tech.
In the last six games, he's averaging 22 points. "His footwork is good. You always start with that. He's got real good feet. He's getting them set up quicker and quicker and he was in rhythm. You could see that. He's got a nice compact shot. He can leave the floor so he can get it off with his size but he's really moving well. Guys are looking for him and hitting him in stride when he's open. It looks good, the rotation is good. The arc is good. All that stuff and he's shot it well for the last few games and it's not because people are not trying to guard him hard. I think his teammates are moving the ball and screening for him but he has the ability to really move without the ball but he's added the threat of - if you come up tight he can get by you so it's makes him effective," coach Tony Bennett said.
Harris has also improved his ability to drive to the rim this season. "Joe finally has that killer mindset we've been wanting him to have since last year. He's been very aggressive on the offensive end which we need because he shoots the ball lights out," teammate Jontel Evans explained.
Harris said he knew coming into the season after playing in Europe (team's preseason exhibition games over the summer) that he was going to have to be a lot more aggressive and assertive than he had in years past. "With guys that have left in Mike Scott and Sammy Zeglinski. They left huge voids offensively."
Harris never fails to praise his teammates. "You just get yourself in a good rhythm. It's a testament to your teammates. They're doing a good job of getting you open. Guys like Akil Mitchell, Justin Anderson, the bigs do a good job of screening and Jontel Evans does a great job of finding you. He's really good at getting into the paint and making my job easy as a shooter."
And it starts with the footwork. "He's been diligent every day getting shots and working on his game. It's really paying off. We run so much stuff for him. Our offense really goes through him, just coming off screens and stuff and when he's on fire, he's on fire," teammate Akil Mitchell said.