Over 7,500 miles from his home in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Jared Harrington is trying to make history for the Cape Town Tigers in South Africa.
Harrington’s goal was always to become a professional athlete, but he took a more unconventional route when he didn’t have the grades to go to a Division I school out of high school. His brother went the junior college route, and Harrington didn’t think that path was for him, so he went to Daniel Webster, a Division III school in New Hampshire. The coaches at the program had connections with professional organizations, and Harrington had a great relationship with them. It was the right fit for both parties.
“Even though it was Division III basketball, it was still a high level. I was a 6-foot-6 shooting guard at the time. They put the ball in my hands from the start and helped me become a full-time point guard, which I needed to make it to the next level,” Harrington said.
Albany State University
The point guard stayed at Daniel Webster for two years and transferred to Division II Albany State University, an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in Albany, Georgia.
When asked why he transferred to Albany State, Harrington claimed, “I wanted to play right away. I felt comfortable there and loved the school’s traditions. It is the biggest HBCU in Georgia. My parents loved the coaching staff, and I got to experience south, which was new, but a great experience.”
During his two seasons at Albany State, he had the opportunity to play under two different coaches providing him with two different experiences. His coach relied on him to be a scorer, and he had a strong season as a junior. Then, in the summer of 2018, Harrington received an invite to the NBA Player’s Association annual HBCU Top 50 camp. Harrington got a lot of exposure with scouts on hand, which would help him down the line.
Patrick Gayle took over as head school his senior season. Harrington described Gayle as a mentor and great coach that put him in many high-level situations on the court that allowed him to thrive. Harrington set an Albany State school record for most points scored in a single season with 461 points.
Off the court, Harrington took advantage of his platform off in Albany, Georgia. He gave back to the community and was a positive role model to the children in the community. He joined clubs at the university and talked to children in the community.
In 2020, Harrington began his professional career in Mongolia. He played for almost three months and then covid forced him to return home. Staying ready was his only option, working hard in the gym and preparing for his next opportunity. His next chance came in South Africa for the Cape Town Tigers.
Basketball Africa League
Harrington is playing in his second professional season in South Africa for the Cape Town Tigers. The Cape Town Tigers competed in the BAL (Basketball Africa League) Qualifiers to clinch a spot in the league. They’ve won their first two qualifying games and are waiting to play their next game, postponed due to covid.
Last season the top six teams in the BAL automatically qualified for the upcoming season. The BAL will pick the six best teams from the qualifiers to fill out the 12 team league. Cape Town hopes to win and qualify for the BAL. “We’re just trying to win and blessed to be one of the teams in the BAL,” Harrington said.
Cape Town has Harrington playing off the ball at shooting guard with NBA veteran Ben Uzoh at the point. Harrington is a scoring/slashing guard who can score effectively from mid-range and around the basket. In five games for Cape Town, Harrington averaged 7.6 points and 1.6 assists in 14.3 minutes per game.
The BAL has been an excellent experience for Harrington and his teammates. The NBA is building brand new facilities all over Africa, have significant sponsorships, and the players in the league are coming from all over the world. “I am the youngest person here, and I’m playing, so I’m just taking every day as a learning experience. The competition forces Africans to elevate their game, and it’s amazing to see. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this league,” said Harrington.
Harrington’s won two championships while playing in South Africa for Cape Town.
Harrington wouldn’t change anything in his journey because it made him the man he is today. Playing in Africa has been a dream come true. He’s learning from former NBA players and overseas veterans and improving himself on and off the court.
While waiting to play for Cape Town, Harrington is keeping all of his options open on where he will be playing in the future.
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