By LARRY VAUGHT
Mike Harmon knows some are questioning why his son, sophomore Zion Harmon, has transferred from Adair County to Marshall County, especially since he spent his eighth-grade year at Bowling Green helping the Purples win a state title.
If you didn’t know, point guard Zion Harmon not only is the top-ranked basketball player in Kentucky in the 2021 recruiting class, but he’s also one of the top players nationally in the 2021 recruiting class. Even if Harmon reclassifies to the 2020 recruiting class as he readily admits he might, he would still be one of the nation’s top players.
What Mike Harmon doesn’t understand is why anyone would think he would not want to give his son the best opportunities to succeed academically, athletically and socially going forward.
“He did some great things at Adair and I don’t want to saying anything bad. I respect those people and the school. Zion has been in private schools most of his life and is a pretty intelligent young man. Adair does not provide the same (educational) opportunities as a lot of schools that we could have chosen in the state of Kentucky,” Mike Harmon said.
“He’s in the public eye and has to handle media and a lot of different interactions with people based on who he is and what he has done. I think as a parent why shouldn’t I have the right to choose to put him in a better education system to challenge him.”
Harmon had a 3.7 grade-point average last year while taking six classes he’ll need for college eligibility — “He’s not an average student, he’s a really good student who needs challenge,” Mike Harmon said.
He already has scholarship offers from Auburn, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Saint Louis and Creighton with interest from a lot of other schools including Kansas, Louisville and Kentucky.
Harmon has been a part of USA Basketball and has had a busy summer attending various elite camps across the country.
“We didn’t choose Marshall because it was the best basketball opportunity out there,” Mike Harmon said. “We chose it for social, educational, leadership reasons. It’s going to help him in so many ways. As a parent, if you are trying to prepare your child for what lies ahead of them, why would you not choose the best place for him to do that. The parent is the one who knows what his best for his or her child. No one else can really know that.”
Marshall County’s student population is almost 98 percent white, much like the overall county population is. The Harmons are African-Americans.
However, Mike and Zion Harmon see that as a positive because they can bring diversity to the county.
The Harmons also hope they can help the ongoing healing process from last January’s shooting in the high school foyer that left two dead and 15 wounded.
“Zion has to develop a comfort level for life,” Mike Harmon said. “He has to deal with stuff early that most high level kids do not have to deal with until later. It’s most responsibility to help him prepare for that, and prepare for life.”
Many have suggested to Mike Harmon that he put Zion Harmon in a high level prep school to hone his skills. He’s resisted doing that.
“I take a beating as a parent justifying keeping Zion in the state. I am fighting for the state of Kentucky and yet I get bashed by some for doing that,” Mike Harmon said. “I am for his overall human growth development to prepare him for things he has to face as a player and student both socially and ethnically. My job is to prepare him for college and life while making sure he is challenged. Parents should seek the best situation to challenge a kid in every way possible and that’s what we are doing.”