Friday, January 20, 2012
Photo by Josh Landrum

When he committed to play basketball at North Greenville University, Paul Harrison was just trying to find a way to continue his dream and play college basketball. Little did the 6-8 forward know he would become the focal point of the Crusader basketball program.

“Paul’s high school team did not have a lot of success but you could tell that he was eager to learn,” said Crusader head coach Chad Lister. “He put in the work that was necessary to transform his body and his game to become a solid post player at the Division II level.”

After taking a redshirt during the 2007-08 season, the Alpharetta, Ga. native has become a consistent source of offense and defense for the Crusader program.

“Paul becomes a tough matchup for opponents because he runs the floor and can step out and shoot it from 10 feet as well as anyone,” said Lister. “He is still learning to trust his post moves and become more active on the block.”

On Wednesday, January 18, Harrison became the all-time leading scorer for the North Greenville university men’s basketball program. His layup just two minutes into the game broke the 12-year old record and cemented Harrison as one of the school’s all-time greats. Despite losing to Lees-McRae University 63-61, Harrison record his 42nd career double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds.

Harrison now stands at 1, 791 career points while also being the school’s all-time leading rebounder with 880 career boards, 278 more than second place. He also ranks second in career blocks with 107 and ninth in career assists with 193 helpers.

“It is really more of a shock than anything,” said Harrison of his achievement. “If you were to ask anyone on the 2007-08 team, I probably would’ve been the last person on anyone’s mind. It just shows you what hard work and dedication will get you.”

Harrison’s name is all over the North Greenville record books as he also hold individual records for field goals made in a season (243 in 2009-10), free throws made and attempted in a season (141-for-198 in 2009-10), scoring average in a season (22.4 in 2009-10) and rebounds in a game (17 three times).

As an individual, Harrison has also received a multitude of awards including the 2009 NCAA Division II Independent Freshman of the Year and back-to-back NCAA Division II Independent Player of the Year awards in 2010 and 2011

“It would be nice to be remembered in the record books for sure,” said Harrison. “But it would mean a lot to me if I was remembered for who I was as a person rather than what I did on the court.”

Under the leadership of Harrison the Crusaders have endured a constant level of success as the program has compiled a 58-42 record, including two second places finishes in the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Regional Tournament in 2010 and 2011.

Currently, the senior leads the Crusades in points per game (18.3), rebounds per game (11.3) and blocks per game (1.9), while dishing out 3.1 assists per game and shooting 54 percent from the field. For his career, Harrison boasts averages of 18.9 points per game, 9.3 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game and 1.1 blocks per game.

 “Paul is still writing his last chapter,” said Lister. “He has been wonderful to coach, but more importantly he has been great in the classroom and displays tremendous character.  We have a great relationship and we will miss him when he is gone.”

But for now, Harrison and the Crusaders are focused on winning their first ever conference championship in their inaugural season in Conference Carolinas.