Montae Harris, a Memphis Tennessee native, found his way to Michigan by being a student-athlete at Grace Bible College and is now he's here to stay playing for the Grand Rapids Danger. Harris is a point guard in his first season playing for the Grand Rapids Danger and recently started in their game this past weekend in Alabama against the Tuscaloosa Titans. A true student of the sport, Montae is always looking to learn from his coaches and teammates to understand the game better and rise to the next level in order to help his team and himself. I was able to talk to Montae about his background in basketball as well as his recent transition to from college athlete to semi-professional athlete and what his plans are for the future.
Q: You grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. What made you want to go to school in Michigan at Grace Bible College?
A: Well, I originally committed to division three school in Minneapolis, but decided not to attend there. It came down to a division two school back home and Grace. I wanted to expand a little bit and not be too close to home, so I decided to go to Grace.
Q: What was your area of study at Grace Bible College?
A: My area of study was Journalism
Q: What would you like to do with that career-wise?
A: Right now I am working at Grace Bible College writing articles for the marketing department. I would like to work more for sports teams. Sports journalism is what I ultimately want to go in to.
Q: Now that you’ve graduated, what is the next step for you?
A: Right now I’m just working in my field while playing basketball. I want to see where playing basketball can take me while keeping up in my field of journalism. I would like to play basketball overseas and see where that talks me.
Q: It’s great you’re keeping your options open by doing both. If you had to choose between playing overseas and working in sports journalism, what would you choose?
A: I’d choose basketball. I can always come back to write articles. I won't be young for long.
Q: How has the transition from college athlete to semi-professional athlete been? Any challenges?
A: Adjusting is taking some time. I have been able to learn a lot from my teammates and coaches and it’s been a great experience. Mostly I’ve learned that basketball is more mental rather than physical. The biggest thing was learning the game mentally as far as understanding the game and react off instinct and stay in control if the offense breaks down and put guys in the right spot. When you’re playing as guys [physically] as good as you, have to think differently in game situations to get the edge. I feel like I am already there physically, but getting over that mental hump and understanding the game the best I can to put it all together.
Q: What made you want to pursue signing with the Danger?
A: I debated on if I wanted to stay here or go home. I could have gone home and play semi-professionally on a team there, but I wanted to see my options here. I went to the Danger try-outs but just watched because I was still in season [at Grace Bible College]. I liked what I saw and the Danger was very professional. After my season, I played at the Danger’s open gym practice and I was able to sign onto the team from there. Knew in that back of my head I wanted to do it and I was already here it made sense to stay.
Q: Ok, a few background questions for you; first, when and why did you first start playing basketball?
A: I’ve been playing since I was 6 or 7 years old. I love to do it, I could play all day every day. I love the competitive aspect and the atmosphere. It's a fun game for me. I wouldn't be here at this point in my life if it wasn't for basketball. It opened a lot of doors for me and kept me out of trouble. It also gave me the opportunity to travel the world.
Q: What is your most memorable basketball moment?
A: I would probably say it was when I played at the Phoenix Summer Pro League. I was selected to play in the all-star game. I was able to play against both college players and professionals. A lot of those college players were the top guys in the state and I was the only one there from Memphis.
Q: What is your most embarrassing moment in basketball?
A: I was probably 14-15 years old and I was playing in the AAU circuit we were playing a really tough game. A weird play happened during the game, and I still don’t know how it happened exactly, but my pants fell down. I had to try and play while pulling them back up.
Q: What is your mindset like going into a game? Do you have a pre-game ritual or routine?
A: Mainly what I like to do is be calm. I meditate and listen to music while I program the game in my mind. I’ll game plan what is going to happen so I'm prepared when I come off the bench with a lot of energy. I’ll meditate when they call the players off the bench and when they call my name I'm ready to go.
Q: Who is your favorite music artist/band?
Q: Who is your favorite athlete?
A: My favorite player to watch is Russell Westbrook
Q: What is your favorite sports team to follow?
A: Duke basketball
Q: Outside of basketball, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?
A: Yeah, I just like to hang out with friends. Normally, if not in the gym I like to watch interviews on Youtube. Journalism is what I went to school for so I like to listen to them so I can learn how to speak to athletes or celebrities. I’ll watch interviews and short clips throughout the day.
Q: What's something not a lot of people know about you?
A: Something a lot of people don’t know is that I’m afraid of heights.
Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or not, who would they be?
A: My grandfather, who past away, Ariana Grande, and Kobe Bryant.
Q: What have you enjoyed most so far playing for the Danger?
A: Just the practices and playing with the guys. It’s a lot different from playing for Grace, where Grace was a little more strict during practices. Here, you can just be yourself and get after it and talk to the older guys on the team. The games are my favorite, the atmosphere is so much fun. Just recently this Alabama trip was so much fun, especially because I was able to start.
Q: What are your goals for this season playing for the Danger? Personally and as a team?
A: As a team, being able to go out and help the guys any way I can. Even if I’m just coming out for a couple minutes. I want to work on getting better at offense and defense. Personally, to continue to work on my game and learn from the coaches. I want to be a student of basketball and get my IQ up as must as a can. I also want to become a better scorer and identify players better at this level and become more physical.
Join us this Saturday at Grace Bible College to watch the Danger go up against the Motor City Chargers! Doors open at 5:15 and the game begins at 6 pm!