Most basketball fans who tuned in to the NBA draft last week had little appreciation for how much hard work the players who were selected had put into developing their games.
Kenyan Harmon, a power forward for North Augusta High School, knew what the process entailed for those players.
Harmon, a rising senior, became an extremely fast learner under then-Yellow Jackets coach Keith Arrington.
"Coach Arrington taught me how to play basketball," Harmon said.
Harmon said Arrington helped him develop his skills in all areas of the game. After success during his junior season with the Yellow Jackets, Harmon's hard work paid off when he was invited to several elite camps this summer designed to bring together the top high school basketball talent in the nation. The camps give the players a chance to showcase their talent for some of the top collegiate programs.
"I was surprised that I got invited," Harmon said. "This has been a great experience. I was real surprised that I could play with these guys. They were really good.
"I just think that I got a lot better, and now I know that I can play with bigger people."
Harmon got off to a hot start in early June at the Pangos All-American Camp in Cypress, Calif., which featured 138 high school players from across the nation. Not only was Harmon rated as the No. 15 player at the camp, he was the leading scorer with 16 points in the Top 45 Cream of the Crop All-Star Game.
"This was the best competition that I've ever had," said Harmon. "The coaches told me that they have never seen a guy my height (6-8) that could dribble the ball that well. "They taught me how to come off of screens better, and they definitely helped my game."
Harmon's next opportunity comes Tuesday through Saturday at the Adidas Superstar Camp in Suwanee, Ga., one of the elite camps for high school players from around the nation.
In addition, he was invited to the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp in Richmond, Va. Although he could not attend the camp in Virginia, he is getting plenty of practice against top-flight competition as he awaits his senior season at North Augusta.
"I feel like my game has gotten a lot better. My ball handling, shooting and rebounding have improved," Harmon said. "My all-around game is much better than it was a couple of years ago."
Those who have watched Harmon's play on the court have not shied away from comparing him to a younger Tracy McGrady. But Harmon's plans differ from the path that McGrady took after high school, when he went straight to the NBA in 1997.
"I'm looking forward to playing basketball in college," Harmon said. "I like Connecticut and North Carolina. I'm thinking about Connecticut."