Blount Press Row

Dante’s Inferno

Alert the greats; 1,000-point sophomore on historic pace

Alcoa guard Dante Harris became the first sophomore in school history to reach 1,000 points earlier this week. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

He caught Steve Cobble on Tuesday.

An average game tonight, and Bucky McGill gets passed.

If Alcoa reaches next week’s region championship game, he’ll have David Marsh, the only high school All-American in the history of the boys program, on his radar.

Travis Stinnett, Micah Marsh, Dennis Godfrey, David Davis … might not be a bad idea to alert all the greats. Dante Harris isn’t just closing on their much-revered scoring records. He’s coming for them at a sprint.

The Tornadoes (19-9) host Gibbs (6-23) in a Region 2AA quarterfinal this evening.

Tipoff is 7 p.m.

Harris, a sophomore guard, passed 1,000 points for a career with a 21-point effort in a 57-56 win over Fulton in the District 4AA tournament championship game on Tuesday at Kingston. The implications of what Harris achieved are stunning when you consider where his now 1,003 points has him placed on Alcoa’s all-time scoring tables.

With Harris’ inclusion, 17 Tornadoes have now eclipsed 1,000 for a career. Cobble, a Tornado for the 1962 through 1965 seasons, stood 16th prior to Tuesday with 1,002 points. The leap from Cobble to Stinnett at No. 1 — 1,748 points — is a big one. It’s also dramatically telling of just what Harris is doing.

The numbers for Stinnett, Marsh, Godfrey and the rest are career totals. Harris has two years to play!

And here’s the scary part. The lightning-quick, 5-foot-11 Harris, who can already dunk, has only begun to teach himself the 3. He put up those points off the dribble.

“Oh, man!” Alcoa coach Joel Kirk said. “When he adds that 3-pointer … ”

Harris, a 3.2 grade point average student, is remarkably soft-spoken for such an outsized talent. The why is compelling.

Alcoa’s youthful floor leader plays with an inspired heart.

Harris stencils a tribute to his late mother, Tonya, on his sneakers before every game.

Harris lost his mother, Tonya, to a heart attack on Nov. 9, 2015. The pain of that loss sparked a fierce drive to improve himself, he said. In keeping with his understated approach to things, Harris stencils a small reminder of Tonya on his sneakers before every game.

You have to look close to see it.

He even asked us to wait while he laced his shoe before we took a picture.

“I just try to make her proud,” Harris said.

Speak softly and carry a crazy good crossover?

Alcoa put eight players in the scoresheet in finally getting by Fulton for the district title. Jalen Carter followed Harris into double figures with 13. Isaiah Cox and Nate Marsh were next with six each, Nick Roberts five. A Cox steal late helped open a four-point Tornado lead the Falcons never closed.

“The thing we talked about before that Fulton game was how we had to be more physical,” Kirk said. “Fulton’s always a physical team. They’re going to get physical with you. I think we kind of pushed back a little.”

Harris, from all appearances, is pushing back a lot.

Alcoa 1,000-point scorers

Travis Stinnett (1994-98)
Micah Marsh (1990-94)1,674
Dennis Godfrey (1970-73)1,469
David Davis (1963-67)1,374
Brian Davis (1990-94)1,367
Ronnie Pittard (1966-70)1,343
Jim Riddick (1955-59)1,313
Jeremy Stache (1998-2002)1,309
Chad Smith (1986-90)1,226
Mark Burnette (1974-77)1,182
Chuck Ogle (1972-75)1,153
Richard Marsh (1960-64)1,128
Eddie Williams (1974-77)1,111
* Dante Harris (2017-present)1,110
David Marsh (1964-67)1,061
Bucky McGill (1957-61)1,017
Steve Cobble (1962-65)1,002

* Updated with state tournament results from March 15 against Livingston Academy.

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