Kendre Harrison Tops Grid-Hoopers!

Sophomore sensation Kendre Harrison of Reidsville (N.C.) is named 2023-24 National Grid-Hoop Player of the Year. He has a chance to go down as one of the best in U.S. history, but his story is far from finished.

Last December we honored NBA Hall of Famer George McGinnis the week of his passing. The late McGinnis will not only be remembered for his gentle disposition, but for being one of the best Grid-Hoop (football-basketball combo) athletes in U.S. high school history. McGinnis is recognized as the first two-time National Grid-Hoop Player of the Year by Ballislife.com during his time at Washington (Indianapolis) over 55 years ago. Joe Girard III, who helped Clemson to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2024 and is currently on the Toronto Raptors' summer league team, was also honored after his junior and senior campaign at Glens Falls (N.Y.) five years ago.

Which brings us to this year's honoree, Kendre Harrison of Reidsville (N.C.), a 6-foot-7, 240-pound menace at tight end, defensive end and power forward. Harrison's exploits are incredible, but many know him for recently shattering two backboards within three months and for assaulting the rims on the Nike EYBL 16U circuit with Team CP3.

Harrison will now be just as well known for becoming the first sophomore ever to be honored as the nation's finest football-basketball combo athlete. The all-time list dates back to the 1954-55 season and includes some of the finest athletes ever to grace high school playing fields with many of them going on to play in the NFL. Many recruiting experts feel Harrison has the kind of potential to one day join that exclusive group who were terrific at hoops and went on to the NFL.

Perhaps no sophomore ever has been as highly honored in both sports and it's incredible to think Harrison still has two more high school years to develop and add to his impressive resume. Scouring around the country, there were a couple of senior (class of 2024) standouts in both sports such as Terry Bussey of Timpson (Texas) and Caden Pinnick of Del Oro (Loomis, Calif.), but none seemed to be on the level of the top underclass choices. Among juniors, C.J. Ingram of Hawthorne (Fla.) was more explosive and arguably better than all the seniors, too, after leading the Hornets to FHSAA Class 1A state titles in both sports as a quarterback and wing player. He too has shined on the EYBL with the Florida Rebels 17U club, but Harrison's resume and accolades were attained at a higher level of competition.

In football, Harrison helped Reidsville capture the NCHSAA Class 2A crown by hauling in 62 receptions for 930 yards and 16 total touchdowns for a 15-1 club. On defense, the grid-hoop sophomore sensation was in on 70, tackles, including 17 for loss, to go along with eight sacks, 30 quarterback hits, seven pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Harrison is considered the top tight end prospect in the national 2026 class and is a consensus Top 10 recruit, but hoops is the separator in his selection. Reidsville not only captured the Class 2A title, it finished 29-0 and ranked No. 39 in the final FAB 50 National Team Rankings. The Rams defeated Farmville Central (Farmville, N.C.), 78-77, in overtime, in one of the most well-played championship games of the season. In that game, Harrison finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds and blocked five shots. In 29 games, Harrison recorded 25 double-doubles and finished with averages of 19.4 ppg, 15.1 rpg, and 3.7 bpg while shooting 67 percent from the field for the Rams while earning 2023-24 Underclass All-American honors. He was just as impressive statistically as a ninth-grader (21.5 ppg, 15.1 rpg) for a team that went 26-1 and made it to the state title game and was a dominant two-way player on the grid-iron for a 14-2 club.

After a strong spring, Harrison is now considered a Top 50 national basketball recruit in the rising junior class and fields high major offers in both sports. He is the fourth national grid-hoop honoree from North Carolina and the first since Sage Surratt of Lincolnton (N.C.) for the 2016-17 season. He's now been offered in both sports by the University of North Carolina and its inevitable for him to draw comparisons to Tar Heel great Julius Peppers, who went on to become the second pick of the 2002 NFL Draft after playing both sports in college.

Peppers helped UNC reach the 2000 NCAA Final Four after starring in both sports at Southern Nash (Bailey, N.C.), where he was good enough to get invited to the prestigious Nike All-American Camp and was a finalist for 1997-98 National Grid-Hoop Player of the Year. He was somewhat over-shadowed (as were other terrific athletes such as future NBA player Matt Barnes) by Ron Curry of Hampton (Va.), who was named national player of the year in both sports by some credible publications and eventually joined Peppers on the UNC football and basketball teams.

Will Harrison be the next great Tar Heel to play both sports? He's scheduled to cut his college list to six programs in the coming days and UNC is expected to make the cut.

Harrison already makes the cut as one of the most explosive grid-hoopers in recent memory and has a chance to join the likes of McGinnis and Curry as one of the best all-time nationally in both sports. Will he play both sports in college? Will he stay home for the next level?

Harrison's story still has a long ways to go even though he's already accomplished quite a bit as a young two-sport star.

Ballislife National
Grid-Hoop Players of the Year

(Selections retroactive from 1979 back based on research by editor Ronnie Flores with input from Mark Tennis of Cal-Hi Sports, Kevin Askeland of Maxpreps.com and retired National High School Hall of Fame journalist Doug Huff; Selections are based on high school accomplishment, not future college/pro potential and are reflective of those that lead their teams to state championships in both football and basketball.)

2023-24 -- Kendre Harrison, Reidsville (N.C.) 6-7 TE/F (Soph.)
2022-23 -- Lincoln Kienholz, Riggs (Pierre, S.D.) 6-2 QB/G
2021-22 -- Sonny Styles, Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio) 6-4 DB/F
2020-21 -- Travis Hunter, Collins Hill (Suwanee, Ga.) 6-1 DB/WR/G
2019-20 -- Jalen Suggs, Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis) 6-4 QB/G
2018-19 -- Joe Girard III, Glens Falls (N.Y.) 6-2 QB/G
2017-18 -- Joe Girard III, Glens Falls (N.Y.) 6-2 QB/G (Jr.)
2016-17 -- Sage Surratt, Lincolnton (N.C.), 6-3, WR/G
2015-16 -- Chazz Surratt, East Lincoln (Denver, N.C.) 6-4 QB/G
2014-15 -- Joe Burrow, Athens (Ohio) 6-4 QB/F
2013-14 -- Patrick Mahomes, Whitehouse (Texas) 6-3 QB/F
2012-13 -- Cornelius Elder, Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.) 5-10 RB/G
2011-12 -- Dorial Green-Beckham, Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.) 6-6 WR/F
2010-11 -- Jacoby Brissett, Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) 6-2 QB/G
2009-10 -- Jackson Jeffcoat, Plano West (Plano, Texas) 6-3 DE/F
2008-09 -- Marlon Brown, Harding Academy (Memphis, Tenn.) 6-5 WR/F
2007-08 -- Terrelle Pryor, Jeannette (Pa.) 6-6 QB/F
2006-07 -- Tray Allen, South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) 6-4 OL/F
2005-06 -- Percy Harvin, Landstown (Virginia Beach, Va.) 6-1 WR/G
2004-05 -- Greg Paulus, Christian Brother’s Academy (Syracuse, N.Y.) 6-2 QB/G
2003-04 -- Dwayne Jarrett, New Brunswick (N.J.) 6-5 WR/F
2002-03 -- Matt Bush, Male (Louisville, Ky.) 6-3 QB/G
2001-02 -- Matt Trannon, Northern (Flint, Mich.) 6-7 WR/F
2000-01 -- Marcus Spears, Southern Lab (Baton Rouge, La.) 6-5 TE/F
1999-00 -- Dominique Sims, De La Salle (Minneapolis) 6-2 QB/G
1998-99 -- Derek Smith, Highlands (Fort Thomas, Ky.) 6-4 TE/F
1997-98 -- Ronald Curry, Hampton (Va.) 6-2 QB/G
1996-97 -- LaVarr Arrington, North Hills (Pittsburgh) 6-4 LB/F
1995-96 -- Tim Couch, Leslie County (Hyden, Ky.) 6-5 QB/F
1994-95 -- Randy Moss, DuPont (Belle, W.Va.) 6-4 WR/F
1993-94 -- Tony Gonzalez, Huntington Beach (Calif.) 6-4 TE/F
1992-93 -- Allen Iverson, Bethel (Hampton, Va.) 6-0 QB/G (Jr.)
1991-92 -- Steve Taneyhill, Altoona (Pa.) 6-3 QB/G
1990-91 -- Marvin Harrison, Roman Catholic (Philadelphia) 6-0 WR/G
1989-90 -- Lawrence Moten, Archbishop Carroll (Washington, D.C.) 6-4 TE/G
1988-89 -- Terry Kirby, Tabb (Va.) 6-2 RB/G
1987-88 -- Carl Pickens, Murphy (N.C.) 6-3 WR/F
1986-87 -- Greg Skrepenak, G.A.R. (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) 6-8 OL/C
1985-86 -- Ed McCaffrey, Central Catholic (Allentown, Pa.) 6-5 TE/F
1984-85 -- Andre Rison, Northwestern (Flint, Mich.) 6-0 DB/G
1983-84 -- Chris Carter, Middletown (Ohio) 6-2 WR/G
1982-83 -- John Paye, Menlo (Atherton, Calif.) 6-3 QB/G
1981-82 -- Paul Jokisch, Brother Rice (Birmingham, Mich.) 6-7 WR/F
1980-81 -- Mark Rypien, Shadle Park (Spokane, Wash) 6-4 QB/G
1979-80 -- Reginald White, Howard (Chattanooga, Tenn.) 6-6 DL/C
1978-79 -- Tony Hunter, Moeller (Cincinnati) 6-5 TE/F
1977-78 -- Ken McAlister, Oakland (Calif.) 6-5 LB/F
1976-77 -- Danny Ainge, North Eugene (Eugene, Ore.) 6-4 WR/G
1975-76 -- Butch Carter, Middletown (Ohio) 6-5 WR/G
1974-75 -- Tony Nathan, Woodlawn (Birmingham, Ala.) 6-2 ATH/G
1973-74 -- Stan Rome, Valdosta (Ga.) 6-5 WR/F
1972-73 -- Lester Hayes, Wheatley (Houston) 6-1 LB/G
1971-72 -- Quinn Buckner, Thornridge (Dolton, Ill.) 6-2 DB/G
1970-71 -- Charles Cleveland, Bibb County (Centerville, Ala.) 6-5 WR/F
1969-70 -- Joel Parker, Clearwater (Fla.), 6-5 WR/F
1968-69 -- George McGinnis, Washington (Indianapolis) 6-7 TE/F
1967-68 -- George McGinnis, Washington (Indianapolis) 6-7 TE/F (Jr.)
1966-67 -- Dan Fife, Clarkston (Mich.) 6-2 ATH/G
1965-66 -- Jim Mandich, Solon (Ohio) 6-2 TE/F
1964-65 -- Norm Van Lier, Lincoln (Midland, Pa.) 6-0 QB/G
1963-64 -- Ken Stabler, Foley (Ala.) 6-3 QB/F
1962-63 -- Randy Mahaffey, LaGrane (Ga.) 6-6 DE/F
1961-62 -- Myron Erickson, Orland (Calif.) 6-5 WR/C
1960-61 -- Lance Rentzel, Casady (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 6-2 RB/G
1959-60 -- Archie Roberts, Holyoke (Mass.) 6-0 QB/G
1958-59 -- Terry Baker, Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 6-2 QB/G
1957-58 -- John Havlicek, Bridgeport (Ohio) 6-5 QB/F
1956-57 -- Glynn Gregory, Abilene (Texas) 6-2 RB/G
1955-56 -- George Greathouse, Phoenix Union (Phoenix, Ariz.) 5-9 RB/G
1954-55 -- Randy Duncan, Roosevelt (Des Moines, Iowa) 6-0 QB/G

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached atΒ [email protected]. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter:Β @RonMFlores

							

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