Clemson and sophomore guard Damarcus Harrison received the news they were hoping for on Wednesday as the NCAA granted the request for a hardship waiver that makes the BYU transfer eligible to play immediately.
The news was first reported by Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports.
According to Eisenberg, Harrison was unsure as to whether or not he’d have to attend a technical college without being able to play just as recent as six weeks ago.
The Greenwood, South Carolina native may not have played a lot for BYU’s NCAA tournament team last season, but his addition gives Clemson some much-needed perimeter depth.
Brad Brownell lost two key perimeter contributors at the end of last season as guard Andre Young (13.3 ppg, 3.1 apg) and wing Tanner Smith (11.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg) had both exhausted their eligibility.
Add in the injuries suffered this summer by Jaron Blossomgame (broken leg) and Devin Coleman (torn Achilles tendon) and it was rather apparent that Clemson needed another body.
Enter Harrison, whose college plans were thrown for a loop when his two-year Mormon mission was delayed for a year to 2013.
Had Harrison been able to begin his mission this fall as he originally planned, he likely would have resumed his basketball career at BYU when he returned. Instead the church decided last month he needed to delay his mission a full year, sending him scrambling to find a way to avoid putting his education and basketball career on hold.
According to Eisenberg Harrison couldn’t return to BYU because the Cougars had already filled their scholarships for the 2012-13 season, and this all happened before BYU forward Chris Collinsworth announced his decision to retire due to an ankle injury.
As a result Harrison was looking at having to go the technical college route until Brownell reached out to the sophomore, who chose BYU over Clemson in his original recruitment.
“Knowing the family and knowing Damarcus, that was a big part of me going ahead and giving him a scholarship without knowing if he’s going to play or not,” Brownell said last month. “He’s an athletic wing player with a good skill set who can play multiple positions. I’ve followed him enough to know that he fits what we do.”
Harrison may have averaged just 8.8 minutes per game at BYU last season, but he came up big in the Cougars’ comeback win over Iona in the NCAA tournament with 12 points and three rebounds.
Clemson will lean on seniors Devin Booker and Milton Jennings inside and the addition of Harrison will help out sophomores Rod Hall and T.J. Sapp, who are their most experienced perimeter returnees.