Fresno State senior guard Marvelle Harris drives toward the basket during a conference matchup against Air Force on Feb. 24, 2016. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)
At 10 years old, Marvelle Harris, like many other kids his age, dreamt about playing football for the NFL.
But along the way, Harris picked up a basketball and danced his way to the NCAA Tournament, and his dreams of playing football are now a thing of the past.
Harris comes from a family of seven siblings who all grew up playing sports in the rough neighborhoods of Rialto, California.
“Sports is kind of like an outlet when you live in a tough city like that,” said Harris.
Markell Harris, one of Harris’ younger brothers, describes being awakened early every morning by their dad to play basketball across the street from their house.
“I always looked up to him [Marvelle] and wanted to emulate him since I was little,” said Markell.
Harris began breaking records and now is the all-time leading scorer in Fresno State history, beating out Melvin Ely at the end of the 2015-2016 season.
There was never any doubt in Harris’ mind that his team would win the Mountain West Tournament, and he was absolutely certain it would break into the NCAA Tournament. And that’s exactly what it did.
However, Harris’ concern was never about passing Ely or breaking records for himself, and that is why he is considered the best player in Fresno State history and the most unselfish.
“Sometimes I worry about others more than I worry about myself,” says Harris.
Although, Harris is now the all-time leading scorer, watching him play doesn’t give that away. He seems more than willing to pass the ball and not think of how many points he has on the board.
“He’s not selfish. He gives his teammates the ball. The scouts and just people that watch him play always tweet about him. He doesn’t just score the ball,” said Markell.
Harris’ only concern has always been winning. Now that he has finished his senior year, he is all too ready to go on to the next level.
Communications professor John Hernandez, who is also a huge fan of Fresno State basketball, taught Harris his sophomore year and describes him as very respectful and attentive.
“When you first meet Marvelle, you see this very humble young man who’s always smiling and joking around but manages to be a leader on and off the court,” said Hernandez.
Harris wants more than anything to play for the NBA, but he is considering a career in either social work or in broadcast journalism as an analyst, just in case.
“Marvelle actually visited my fiancé’s school in Orange Cove, and he’s so very soft spoken that we had to put a microphone on him to talk to the kids because they were so excited and they couldn’t hear him,” said Hernandez.
He said the kids were able to witness Harris perform some impressive dunks.
“He is a dancing machine and has all the qualities and ingredients to go to the NBA,” said Hernandez. “A lot of people will undermine his defensive skills, but he’s very well-equipped. It doesn’t matter who he plays against, he will go all out.”
The Fresno State men’s basketball team was able to land a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but, in the end, lost to Utah 80-69.
Harris had a strong performance, none the less, with 24 points, four rebounds and six assists.
Moving forward, Harris said that he would have liked to have challenged himself more when he was younger.
“When I was younger, since I was naturally talented, I think sometimes I didn’t work as hard as I could, because I knew I was better than some people,” said Harris. “But just being better than somebody is not good enough. You want to get as good as you can. Don’t just be happy with being better than somebody.”