Five months ago, Jerrick Harding sat in Southeast boys basketball coach Melvin Herring’s office and laid out his basketball future in very simple terms.
Harding, a 6-foot guard, already had two City League scoring championships under his belt, but zero Division I offers headed into his senior season.
What a difference five months makes.
After a virtuoso senior season in which Harding averaged 27.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals and led the Golden Buffaloes to a 20-5 record and a Class 6A runner-up finish, Harding announced he’ll play college basketball at Weber State on Friday afternoon.
The All-State pick and Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year started to gain Division I offers late in the season and eventually had his pick of several schools.
Harding said it came down to Weber State and Loyola-Chicago, which plays in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Harding announced his college choice via his Twitter account, @JHarding_10 on Friday, and signed his letter of intent on Thursday night.
Harding took an official visit to Weber State, in Ogden, Utah, last weekend.
“It’s great, I feel relieved,” Harding said. “I knew everything would fall into place, I just had to work my butt off.”
Harding was at his best during the state tournament, where he averaged 34.3 points and his 103 points broke a 37-year-old 6A tournament scoring record.
“It’s awesome, it just goes to show how good God is,” Southeast coach Melvin Herring said. “Midseason, there’s nothing on the table. Then Jerrick did what he needed to do ... what these kids want is big-time schools to come after them, and I think at the end of the day, Jerrick got what he needed. I think he’s going to do real well.”
Weber State, which plays in the Big Sky Conference, is coached by Randy Rahe, the Big Sky’s career coaching wins leader, and is coming off its second NCAA Tournament appearance in the last three seasons.
Weber State can also count one of the NBA’s best players among its alumni in Portland Trailblazers All-Star Damian Lillard, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Harding said he will move to Utah in June to begin summer classes and working out with the team.
“(Herring) sent them film, then everything happened so fast,” Harding said. “I went for my visit, and I just loved it. Also, you know, Damian Lillard is one of my all-time favorite players so that was kind of a big deal to me, too.
“My mom really doesn’t want me to move that far away, but I feel like it will help me stay focused on what I need to do.”
Harding donned a purple-and-white Weber State and put his arm around teammate D’Andre Franklin, who committed to Fort Scott, after he announced his decision.
“Just feels like a lot of hard work paid off,” Harding said. “And now I’m ready to start a new chapter in my life.”