Harris ready to lead Athletics
There’s no two ways about it, Latrell Harris is the heart and soul of the St. Catharines Athletics.
The 21-year-old defender is not only entering his second season as captain, but he also brings three seasons of pro experience from the Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League to the table.
“He’s hugely important being the captain and the leadership role he brings to the team and he does it exceptionally well,” A’s coach Steve Toll said. “Obviously, the younger guys look up to him. He’s played in the NLL for three years so he’s got to deal with a little bit of pressure now.”
Toll has set the bar high for Harris.
“We expect a lot of out big things out of him. He’s got to be a guy who contributes a lot on transition and plain and simple, he has to be the best D guy in the league and he should be the best D guy in the league.
“He has to realize he can dominate a game and hopefully he does.”
Harris, who is entering his fifth season with the A’s, is well aware he needs to be on his game every night.
“(I have) pretty high expectations,” he said. “Obviously, you can’t do too much. We’re a great team all around so I’m not worried about how I’m doing, I’m just worried about how we’re doing as a team and how we’re going to succeed this year.
“We’re in a good spot right now.”
The A’s open the 2019 Ontario Lacrosse Association junior A Friday in Brampton before heading to Six Nations for an afternoon game Monday, May 20. They then host Kitchener-Waterloo Wednesday, May 22 in their home opener at 7:30 p.m.
Toll, whose compete level was legendary during his career in the NLL, expects the same from his leader.
“From my captain, I want leadership on and off the floor. I don’t really care if he says two words on the floor if he’s leading by example,” Toll said. “My thing is give 100 per cent all the time. If you make a mistake, it’s OK if you’re going full tilt. If you make a mistake being lazy, you’re going to hear it.”
Harris knows the eyes of the Athletics will be on his every move, but that doesn’t mean he can try and be something he is not.
“I try not to do too much because it can get me off my game. I just try to be the same guy I am and come out here and show them my best,” he said. “Just be showing an effort, to be honest. Just leading by example because we have everyone who will follow right behind me. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Toll feels playing in the NLL can only help Harris in his junior career.
“It shows what an athlete he is, to play in the best lacrosse league in the world at that age, is something to be recognized and be proud of,” he said. “You’re going from playing against men who are 21 and older to playing against younger men who are becoming men. He’s a full-on man who should dominate the game and we expect nothing but the best out of him every game.”
Harris said the experience has helped in numerous ways.
“I definitely learned a lot. I’m just trying to soak it in and take it all to my team. Every little thing helps.”
Harris is entering his final season with the A’s and can’t believe how quickly his junior career has flown by.
“It’s incredible. I remember when I was a rookie and Marcus Butters was sitting in the dressing room and told me to really take in the five years because it really flies by and it does.
“It’s just flying by and here I am. It’s crazy.”
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