Joe Harris' Summer League Blog

by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Managing Editor

What’s up, Cavalier fans. It’s Joe Harris – Cleveland’s second-round pick in this year’s Draft. My 2014 Draft classmate – Andrew Wiggins – along with the rest of the squad are out here in Las Vegas, getting ready for 2014 Summer League. And this is the first installment of my Rookie Blog that I hope to continue through our stay out West.

Some of you probably don’t know much about me – other than this video that NBA.com posted the night I was drafted by the Cavs. That was an incredible night.

I was really excited. I didn’t know that everybody was going to be shooting off confetti and all that stuff. That was a surprise. But I just wanted it to be fairly low-key. I was just hanging out with my family and my friends and my girlfriend. Obviously everyone was very excited and happy – it’s a very cool moment.

And I have to admit, I had known about it before all that. I knew because they actually went to commercial after my agent called me. He was really excited, saying that we were going to Cleveland. And obviously I was extremely excited. But then they went to commercial and I really didn’t tell anybody. Then, it came back and they showed the pick and I was really happy. It was a really cool moment.

I had an idea the Cavs were going to take me. I kind of knew a general range of teams that were interested in me. And before the Draft, my agent said: ‘We have this team, here. We have this team, here.’ So I had like an idea that if I didn’t get picked by one team, there was the next.

So we kind of went down the line and I knew the Cavs were interested with the 33rd pick. So it was really cool, I was extremely happy and grateful that they’d given me this opportunity.

I come from a town in Washington state that might not be too familiar to Clevelanders called Chelan. It’s really beautiful. It’s about two-and-a-half hours east of Seattle and two-and-a-half hours west of Spokane. It’s right in the middle of the state.

And yes, I’m a huge Seahawks fan. Actually, some of the Legion of Boom was just out in my hometown over the 4th of July. I grew up in kind of a resort community. I lived on a big lake. It was really cool growing up there. But a lot of people come there in the summertime, especially Seahawks guys.

Some people have asked how a guy from Washington ended up playing in Virginia.

Tony Bennett was the coach at Washington State before he took the job at Virginia. And Washington State was probably three or four hours from me – it’s the main school in the eastern part of Washington. And I was going to go play for him at WSU, but he left and took the job at Virginia in my junior year of high school. And I just followed him out to Virginia.

Out here in Vegas, we’ve been practicing – two-a-days – all week getting ready for Friday’s opener. Coach Blatt has been awesome! I was out in Cleveland and I got a chance to meet him there after the Draft and kind of see what he’s like. We ran through some drills there, but this is the first time in a natural practice setting. And he’s been great.

Coach Blatt is very, very knowledgeable about the game. And it just goes to show you that no matter where you’re at, he knows as much about basketball as anyone. You learn a lot from him. And he’s a very charming guy, very personable. He’s pretty funny, too. He likes to mess with the guys – and he’s been messing with me quite a bit, because I haven’t been able to do as much as I would’ve liked because I tweaked my ankle here a little bit. So he always asks me before practice if I need a cappuccino and croissant while I’m sitting over here.

But he’s great, definitely a player’s coach; everybody really likes to play for him. And I think guys are going to work really hard for him because everybody respects him a lot.

It’s been a whirlwind since Draft night. Andrew (Wiggins) and I went out to Cleveland for about a week right after the Draft. And then went home for the 4th of July. Then we came right back to Vegas.

It’s been pretty much all business out here. I’ve been to Vegas quite a few times. But this is the first time since I’ve been 21.

I still haven’t gambled or ventured out. My dad, one of his best friends from school – he’s a really close family friend – he lives down here and so I’ve been able to catch up with him quite a bit, which has been good. So I’ve been able to catch up with him quite a bit and hang out, which has been good.

It’s a different world out here sometimes and I asked him about it and he was saying, if you’re local and you’re from Las Vegas, you rarely head down to the Strip. If you hang out with a group of friends of have people visiting, maybe. But it’s two separate worlds, really.

Right now, I’m just ready to get after it on the court. It’s been a while since most of us played against another squad and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll make sure to keep you posted on the team and my progress as Summer League unfolds over the next couple weeks.

In the meantime: Go Cavs!

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