By LARRY VAUGHT
Emmie Harris admits she’s a little uncertain about what to do with herself.
The former Boyle County basketball, soccer and track standout has been back home for almost a month now after finishing her junior season on the Utah State basketball team after the school was closed by coronavirus.
“I think that if I don’t have to go back to school this will be the first time I have home this long since my senior year of high school,” Harris said. “They are going to re-evaluate soon to see what we might be able to do practice-wise but I am home until at least April 15 and probably longer.”
She’s had to adjust to all online classes and maintaining the high grade-point average she needs for medical school after graduation.
“I am glad I am at home dealing with these online classes but it sucks now being with my team. We have got a new coach and I have not got to meet her. That is not really good but we all have to do what is best to stay healthy,” Harris said.
Harris started 22 of 31 games last season and averaged 21.5 minutes, 3.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Kayla Ard was named the new coach Monday after spending the last three seasons at the University of Denver where she was the associate head coach, recruiting coordinator and offensive coordinator.
Ard plans to play a more up tempo game than Harris played in high school or her first three years in college. Harris says she’s “grateful” she has found a gym here to work out most days and is finding ways to compensate for not having a weight room available.
“I would go nuts if I was not in the gym,” she said. “I can’t sit around and do nothing. I have a lot to work on. At the beginning of last season I kind of struggled from what I hoped I could do. I had to adjust throughout the year and become more of a facilitator. By the end of the season I was able to reach where I wanted to be. I wish I could have done it sooner but it’s all part of God’s plan. I just hope to carry all this over to my senior season and do what I am capable of doing and what they need me to do.”
The assistant coach who recruited her left after one season for Florida State. Her head coach the first two seasons had to take a medical leave and Utah State had an interim coach. Now she’ll have another head coach once she gets back to campus.
“I can’t worry about what I can’t control. I have to stay focused on what I can do for my team,” Harris said.
She’s staying in touch with teammates through group messaging and has “connected” with some friends here. She’s also spending a lot more time with family than she’s been able to the last three years.
“At first I thought all this might be over exaggerated. Then I realized it was about our safety and I would rather be safe than sorry because we still don’t know how extreme this is all going to be,” she said of the virus. “Don’t let the uncontrollable control you. I am just doing what everyone says to do and taking things day by day.”
Online classes and exams are a bit different than being a school where there is someone to monitor testing.
Her computer has a camera on the front that can detect eye moment to where “if you look away from the screen they may think you are cheating” because someone is watching.
“Before the test you have to scan your ID so they know it is you and then scan around the room so they know no one else is in there with you,” Harris said. “It’s kind of weird but you just have to get used to it and go on.”