Rookie Watch: Trajuan Harris of Flint United

With loved ones looking down on him, the former NAIA Arkansas Baptist guard prepares to make his name known this season in TBL for more than just himself.

Kansas City, Missouri – This is a godsend moment in life for Trajuan Harris. Lord knows he’s coped with enough to last two lifetimes.

Not only did he hear his name called in the TBL Draft by Flint United after the organization chose him 13th overall in the Second Round, but Trajuan’s receiving a fresh start at making a first impression by furthering his professional career this 2023 season after previously suiting-up in the Philippines. But this particular story is bigger than basketball.

It’s bigger than Trajuan. It’s bigger than all of us, at the end of the day.

This TBL “Rookie Watch” is about finding a deeper meaning in life by competing for those who are sadly no longer here to see it. They are looking down. He is lifting his prayers all the way up. That’s exactly what Trajuan Harris has done the last two years since leaving Arkansas Baptist and turning pro in 2019. It hasn’t been an easy transition from a quaint college campus in Little Rock to striving to play professionally, but it’s a sojourn the 27-year old 6’4 combo guard from Gary, Indiana knows he’s meant to be on regardless of the burdens carried along the way. Now as the newest member of Flint United, Trajuan is soaking up the daily excitement of getting training camp underway next week.

Heading into camp, expect Harris to play with his emotions on his sleeve and give everything he has to being on the court.

On being drafted by Flint and preparing to play his first season in TBL

I’m ecstatic to join the organization. Honestly, it was shocking to get the call. Head Coach Kevin Crosby and myself had a great connection and we instantly clicked. I love the idea of playing for a coach who wants to see your game go to the next level after playing in both days at the Draft Combine in Indianapolis. I was talking to my grandma when the call came that I had been selected and she was so excited. She started crying. She is ready for me to start this new journey. I know this means a lot.

On soaking up as much information as possible at the Draft Combine

What I learned the most at the TBL meetings and workouts was how bad did you really want it? Everyone came in with a sense of purpose but you had to be the one that really wanted it. That’s what it means to show these coaches that you are a dog and so when Coach Crosby saw me, he could see the fire in my eyes. I’m playing defense. I’m yelling. I’m talking and it was the little things like that I think he decided to draft me.

On the passing of his head coach in college at Arkansas Baptist, Charles Ripley, in 2020

Coach Rip was a great coach who had believed in me when nobody gave me a chance. We had a great bond all the way until his passing. He’s the reason why I decided to try to pursue my dreams of playing professional ball.

How the loss of Coach Ripley impacted him moving forward 

When he passed away, it was tough not having him around and having the knowledge of the game. He studied and knew to see someone who loved doing what he did for so many years. It hurt me. What did I appreciate about Coach Rip the most? I appreciated his wisdom and his guidance. You know you could come to him with life problems, and he always had a solution to it. He just told me to be anywhere and should be anything. You have to dedicate your spirit and your mind in whatever it is you do.

On facing other life-changing difficulties to start his professional career

It’s been tough. I had a son – Zaire Harris – who passed at 3 months old from SIDs and I almost thought about giving up. I didn’t have a plan after that, but I surrounded myself with a good group of people who have been lifting me up. That’s helped me get back to myself after my son passed away. I knew that moment had a purpose in my life. I know he is watching me and he is proud of me. I just had to go out and have a plan on the hardwood. Being able to go across the country like this and see fans scream out your name. It’s nothing like it. I’m truly grateful for everything that’s been given to me. I’m still trying to do my part and show people why I’m a great fit.

Zaire died right before I left to play basketball in the Philippines. He passed in my arms as I was trying to resuscitate him. Every time I step on the court and I get the opportunity to play, I don’t take it for granted because one day you can be in a new place. One minute you’re enjoying life and laughing, and the next thing you know it’s gone.

On starting his pro career with a heavy heart

I needed to play basketball to distract myself from my emotions that built up. The court was like my safe space. I’m just out there having fun and even when I was going through the loss of my son and Coach Ripley, I really prayed. I sat there and thought to myself: there’s more. It’s the reason why I get up every day and I go to the gym and work. I am grinding because I am motivated to go harder because they are looking over me. I go into everyday thinking, I am going to get better. That is my attitude and will make that happen in Flint.

On getting training camp started with Flint United

My mindset this season is to really come in and just be a dog. I’m trying to get us wins and be a winner. I’m a competitor and I don’t back down. I’m ready to be with a group of guys and have a special year this year.

Wendell Maxey is the author of Around The Basketball League and has written about professional basketball and sports for 19 years. He’s been featured on,, USA Today, FOX Sports, and SLAM Magazine among other publications and media outlets. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or read through his archive on Linktree.