By LARRY VAUGHT
Sophomore Zion Harmon won a state championship with Bowling Green in 2017 and was the state’s leading scorer at Adair County last season.
He transferred to Marshall County this season but was ruled ineligible by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. His family has appealed the ruling and the appeal goes to court Wednesday.
All Harmon could do Thursday night was watch his team play Trigg County in the Marshall County Hoopfest and he will be in the same position when Marshall plays Pendleton County Saturday night.
Harmon took time during his treatment for an ankle injury Thursday night to talk about his situation and what lies ahead.
Question: How hard it is it knowing you cannot play until at least Dec. 5 when there is a hearing to grant an injunction so you can play?
Harmon: “To not be able to play basketball is like not having my right hand. It’s what I love to do. I just can’t wait until eventually — if I am ruled eligible — when I can play.”
Question: Do you understand why you are not eligible?
Harmon: “They are trying to say for one my eighth grade year was a high school year when it wasn’t and that I moved only for basketball purposes, which is not true at all. It all just doesn’t make sense to me. That’s why I feel like they will rule me eligible.”
Question: Didn’t you and your family make a legitimate change of residence? Aren’t you legally enrolled in school here? Doesn’t your father have a job where he can work from anywhere, so it is not like he got a new job to come here? Didn’t you also want academically to find a school where you could take classes to graduate in three years? Doesn’t that check every box for a legitimate transfer?
Harmon: “That’s all correct. I am not trying to speak down at Adair County, but when I first went there the classes I was taking were not NCAA certified. My family is education first type family and my dad didn’t like that right away. He saw they used the four-block system (four classes for about 1 1/2 hours per school day) here and my brother had that his senior year of high school and said that was the best setup academically.”
Question: Other than not being able to play the sport you love, how do you like life in Marshall County?
Harmon: “It is good. It is nice. Everyone here is nice people. Great school. I feel like with the shooting that happened (at the high school in January where two students were killed and many wounded), it’s like it never happened. You wouldn’t even think they had a shooting last year. Everyone acts like it is just another year.”
Question: Since you played here last year at Marshall County Hoopfest and then did a clinic for kids a few weeks later in McCracken County, did that give you a good feel for what it would be like here?
Harmon: “There have been no surprises. One thing I have seen is a great fan base. I have never seen a high school fan base like this.”
Question: How do you get along with your teammates in practice?
Harmon: “We get along great. They are a good group of guys. Not too serious. We have fun on and off the court but we can be serious when we need to be. Great coach, great coaching staff. Everything is going well. I just need to get eligible.”
Question: What has this been like on your dad, Mike?
Harmon: “It has been hard. Lot of stress on him. Unnecessary stress he should not have to go through. I definitely handle this better than him. He really worries.”
Question: How is your ankle and could you play now if ruled eligible?
Harmon: “Because of my ankle I have not practiced the last week. But it will be fine. I am still working out. I just don’t do anything on the legs. I just get shots up.”
Question: Were you looking forward to playing against Kentucky signee Dontaie Allen of Pendleton County Saturday night at Hoopfest?
Harmon: “I was excited to play against him with his commit to Kentucky. I heard he had 52 (points) his first game (and came back with 53 on Thursday). Maybe another time in college or something we can play.”
Question: How much does your Christian faith help you in this stressful time?
Harmon: “Faith is everything. Life can be long but at the end of the day, life is short. If you are not planning on everything you do to be in his name (God) to make it to that next life, then it is almost like you are lost. Faith is my base. It is just everything about me. I try to do everything to his name. I am not perfect but I strive to be the best in everything.”
Question: What would you do if they ruled you ineligible and you could not play at Marshall County this year?
Harmon: “No, I wouldn’t be able to handle that so I hope I am eligible. I would have to find a way to play pickup games or something.”
Question: Would you stay here?
Harmon: “Yes, but I should be eligible. I haven’t done anything wrong.”
Question: Did you have a lot of prep schools call to offer to let you play for them when you were not ruled eligible?
Harmon: “Yes there was a lot but we are not looking for a prep school. We want to stay here and stay in the state of Kentucky.”