Harris the Reluctant "Face" of UVa Hoops

His image is all over magazine covers previewing the upcoming college basketball season. He's the focus of the university's television ad campaign promoting hist team.

Whether he likes it or not, senior guard Joe Harris has become the face of the Virginia men's basketball program.

"I don't really think about all that stuff that much," Harris says with a chuckle when asked about his celebrity status.

"It's impressive. He's a humble guy," fellow senior Akil Mitchell said. "We've got a bunch of humble guys, but he's a very humble guy. And he's just kind of taking it -- the hashtags, all the media, all the magazines and stuff like that -- he's just taking it in stride."

"He's someone that I look up to, because of that humility aspect that he carries," said sophomore Justin Anderson. "And it's natural. It's not something that's forced; it's just natural."

"Going into the game saying things like, "We just need to appreciate the moment. We're creating memories that last a lifetime, no matter what happens,"" Anderson explained. ""People don't remember you for what you did individually. People remember you from what your team did. You have great memories of team wins.""

After averaging 16.3 points per game as a junior, Harris enters this season as the leading returning scorer in the ACC. Last month he came up one vote shy of being named the conference's preseason player of the year, and on Tuesday he was one of 15 players on the preseason watch list for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, given to the national player of the year.

Harris has also become a popular player among national media outlets previewing the upcoming season. Athlon Sports recently named Harris the top shooter in all of college basketball, and its preseason pick for the ACC player of the year. Earlier this week, ESPN's Jay Bilas put Harris atop his "Undervalued and Underappreciated Team", and included the guard on his list of 10 candidates for the Wooden Award.

"I don't know. I let everybody else worry about that stuff," said Harris. "I mean, it's cool to be recognized and that sort of stuff. But none of that stuff matters. And that stuff's not helping us win, or doing anything like that."

"I'm worrying about what I can control," Harris added. "And that's coming in, being a leader every day in practice. Getting the most out of everybody that's here. And trying to help us improve day-in and day-out, so we can win some ballgames."


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