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[new games december 2019]After 3 seasons in Kingston, URI forward Jermaine Harris opts to transfer

  Forward Jermaine Harris, right, was recruited by URI as a potential stretch shooting option on the perimeter but did not live up to those expectations.

  Jermaine Harris has entered the NCAA transfer portal.?

  The?Maryland native’s career at the University of Rhode Island is done after three seasons. Harris?started each of his first 63 games with the Rams and came off the bench?in all 21 appearances?as a junior in 2020-21.?

  More:Does URI extend coach David Cox, or move on?

  More:Former URI guard Fatts Russell transfers to Maryland

  Harris averaged 4.5 points and 2.9 rebounds at URI, shooting 42.1% from the field.?The 6-foot-8-inch forward finished 5-for-47 from 3-point range and blocked 19 shots. His projected role?when recruited?as a?potential stretch shooting?option?on the perimeter never?materialized.?

  Verbal Commits was first to report the news. The deadline for players to enter the portal or remain with their current programs?is?Thursday.?Harris becomes the third member of the Rams to depart?via transfer?this offseason, joining Fatts Russell (Maryland) and D.J. Johnson (Kent State).?

  Harris was considered the centerpiece of the Atlantic 10’s top recruiting class entering the 2018-19 campaign. He selected URI ahead of fellow finalists Xavier, West Virginia, Kansas, Miami, Maryland, South Carolina and Southern Utah. The Rams were the first program among that group to offer Harris a scholarship?and current head coach David Cox served as his lead recruiter.?

  Harris collected 10 rebounds in his URI debut against Bryant, an opening game 97-63 blowout at the Ryan Center. He matched that number only once the rest of the way, that occurring?in a 63-57 victory over St. Bonaventure in December.?Harris reached double digits in scoring eight times with the Rams, including a career-high 17 points in a December 2019 victory at Middle Tennessee.?

  Harris faced a likely roster crunch entering the upcoming season with Makhel Mitchell established at center and Makhi Mitchell (left knee)?likely to make a full return from?surgery. Antwan Walker,?Malik Martin?and Jalen Carey?also played a higher percentage of minutes than Harris last season and could be used in smaller lineup configurations.?

  Harris became the third consensus four-star freshman recruit during Dan Hurley’s tenure in Kingston, joining E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell. A host of?foot and lower-body injuries limited Harris throughout his tenure?with the Rams, including the first two games of last season. Harris received a pain-killing injection?during the program’s stay at Mohegan Sun and opened with six points in a victory over South Florida.?

  Ishmael Leggett is now the only returning URI player?initially?recruited by the program who saw game action in 2020-21. Tres Berry and Ileri Ayo-Faleye?redshirted and Abdou Samb?will be a?freshman.?The other eight current Rams on scholarship were transfers, including?incoming?Ball State graduate Ishmael El-Amin.

  Harris and his class were expected to extend the momentum built by a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018. Two commits didn’t play a game for the Rams, as Brendan Adams followed Hurley to Connecticut and Amir Harris decommitted after?the?initial pledge by Adams. He later?enrolled at?Nebraska and transferred to George Washington.?

  Tyrese Martin wound up the star of the class, but his departure to the Huskies after two seasons stripped URI of what should have been a cornerstone piece. Dana Tate left?after encountering off-court trouble, was dismissed from the program at Siena and will suit up for Norfolk State this?year. Late additions Omar Silverio (Hofstra) and Aris?Tsourgiannis?both lasted one season before leaving the program.

  The Rams now have an additional open scholarship to bolster a group that closed just 10-15 overall last season. URI could be without Allen Betrand (left knee)?after he suffered a significant injury during a conference tournament loss to Dayton.

  The Rams have a pair of early backcourt commits in their Class of 2022, with former Bishop Hendricken star Sebastian Thomas and California shooter Chance Stephens set to join the program for the 2022-23?campaign.

  bkoch@providencejournal.com

  On Twitter: @BillKoch25?