Fresh off of a stint playing professionally in Tunisia, the former Shreveport Mavericks big man is ready to set TBL ablaze with the Potawatomi Fire
It looks like we may have a big answer to that question just in time for Thursday.
That’s when the Fire look to keep their modest win streak alive by hosting in-state and Central Division rival, the Enid Outlaws (3-3) at Fire Lake Arena in Shawnee, where the Outlaws took the three-game season series during the 2022 TBL season.
Both Fire General Manager, David Qualls, and former Shreveport Mavericks center Paul Harrison confirmed on Wednesday that Harrison is officially available for Potawatomi and will make his ‘23 debut against Enid (Thursday and Sunday) and the Little Rock Lightening (Saturday).
“I just plan on getting in where I fit in and get my job done,” said Harrison about getting the chance to play for the Fire.
“I definitely don’t want to slow us down.”
Not a chance. Potawatomi leads the league in scoring (136.7 points per game), rebounding (21.7 offensive rebounds per game, 45.7 defensive rebounds per game), is second in the league in assists (29 per game), and second in 2-point made (39.7). With currently five players scoring in double-digits for Potawatomi and the team literally fielding two legit MVP candidates with Chuck Guy and Deshawn Munson, head coach Mark Dannhoff has the best of both worlds as he also returns to face his old team in Enid. In fact, considering the season Harrison had last season in TBL and winning a title with the Mavs, the Fire just might have another MVP-worthy type of player in the mix. Along with helping lead the Mavs to an upset series and Final victory over the Albany Patroons, Harrison proved to be one of the best big men in TBL last season by averaging 20.9 points and a team-high 8 rebounds per game. A seasoned vet with prior pro experiences playing in Germany, Finland, and Argentina, Harrison also brings some championship cache with him to Shawnee.
As if the Fire weren’t impressive enough, they appear poised to set the rest of this season ablaze. Harrison originally signed with Potawatomi back in December after failing to reach an agreement to return to the Mavs and prior to taking an opening to play in Tunisia, where Paul was briefly before the team struggled to finish out their 2023 season. Despite the dicey situation Harrison now is back where he belongs in TBL, ready to run the floor for the chance to raise another TBL trophy over his head.
“Winning the championship last season, was really a wow moment,” Harrison said looking back.
“After sitting down and once the game was over, it hit me. It was a very hard fought series on the road and what we went through to get there. Then winning in a historic place like Albany…I really can’t put into words how it felt. It seemed like a movie.”
If the Fire can stay lit heading into TBL All-Star Weekend in Lehigh Valley on April 7 – 8, Paul Harrison just might catch a double-feature this season resulting in the former North Greenville University center shining bright on the big stage by raising another Lillie trophy over his head. If so, Harrison would be the first TBL player in league history to repeat as champion in back-to-back seasons. But first, he has to brace himself for the opportunity to contribute if and when Coach Dannhoff calls Paul’s name on Thursday night against the Outlaws.
“I guess we’ll find out once the game starts,” Harrison said.
“I am just happy to be playing basketball.”
Wendell Maxey is the author of Around The Basketball League and has written about professional basketball and sports for 20 years. He’s been featured on NBA.com, ESPN.com, 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.