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Archive for Saturday, November 2, 2002

CU’s Harrison: Kansas fans ‘really don’t like me’

November 2, 2002

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Sporting a shaved head and buff body, once-flabby Colorado center David Harrison looks a lot different than he did a year ago.

He sounds the same, though.

"I don't expect to come in (to Allen Fieldhouse) this year and have them say, 'Hey, it's Dave. How ya doing?''' Harrison, the Buffs' brash, 7-foot, 250-pound sophomore said of the reaction he expects to receive from Kansas University basketball fans during the KU-CU game on Feb. 19 in Lawrence.

"They can boo me if they want to. If I was there (playing for KU), they wouldn't boo me, but they probably still would. They really don't like me there."

Harrison he has lost 40 pounds and gone to an "aerodynamic look" on top proved funny and bold during an interview with two writers who cover KU basketball at Thursday's Big 12 Media Day in Dallas.

Harrison and his brother D.J., you might recall, exchanged words with former KU forward Drew Gooden during KU's 97-85 win over CU last Jan. 5 in Boulder, Colo.

After that game, David Harrison said the Jayhawks would "get theirs" during a Feb. 2 rematch in Lawrence. Instead, the Jayhawks won, 100-73, and a month later bagged a 102-73 victory over the Buffs in the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City.

"D.J. really doesn't dislike Kansas; he really doesn't like Drew Gooden. Drew's not there anymore," David Harrison said of his brother, who is expected to play for the EA Sports All-Stars in Monday's 7 p.m. exhibition against KU at Allen Fieldhouse.

"D.J. is not this crazy want-to-fight-everybody person people make him out to be. It's kind of humorous like the (KU) fans' opinions of us, how we're just thugs or something. I mean, we grew up in rural Nashville, Tenn.

"We have a farm and everything."

Harrison is Public Enemy No. 1 to KU fans, who booed him during introductions and nearly every time he touched the ball last year at Allen.

"I liked it," Harrison said of the booing.

What he didn't like was a potentially dangerous scene near the CU locker room, where more than a dozen KU fans shouted insults at the Harrison brothers as they headed to the showers after the game. Taking the high road, Harrison shook the hand of one middle-aged fan who was in Harrison's face.

"Believe me, I would never hit him, but the first thing that went through my mind was how much trouble I'd get into," Harrison said. "It really wasn't worth it. No matter what he said, my actions would have been more punishable. He wouldn't have been suspended. He wouldn't have been fined. He wouldn't have been kicked out of school. He had all the cards in that situation."

Harrison believes KU's Gooden held all the cards weeks later when Gooden, during pre-Big 12 tournament game introductions, snubbed Harrison, who stood at center court alone. Harrison was jilted by the Memphis Grizzlies' No. 1 draft pick, who wouldn't shake the Buff big man's hand.

"If I did not shake Drew Gooden's hand it would have been a completely different thing. Since Drew did it, it's all good," Harrison said.

Harrison is looking forward to his battles against KU this year.

"Personally, I have nothing against the school. I am really good friends with a couple of players on their team," Harrison said. "I know it's always going to be a hard-fought game and hopefully this year we'll get them."

Harrison is looking forward to playing against buddy Wayne Simien.

"We've spent a lot of time together at Nike camp (last summer and in high school). He is a great guy," Harrison said. "Our families talk to each other. It's kind of weird having a relationship with a Kansas player, but he's a great guy."

Harrison says the 6-9, 255-pound Simien is a load to handle inside.

"Wayne rebounds with the best. He can shoot, can score, has great post moves. His only weakness is he's smaller (shorter) than us," Harrison said. "He is a great player and will be a great player for Kansas and the NBA team that gets lucky enough to draft him."

Scouts believe Harrison has a legitimate shot at a long NBA career.

And after it's over the well spoken big man might copy the controversial Charles Barkley and become a TV analyst.

"Everybody says I'd be really good at that," he said. "I have too colorful a vocabulary to be an announcer. I always say what I feel. I am not going to stop doing that. I can't. There is no reason to sit here and lie to people. I just wish more players would do that, not just sit here and show you a nice little smile. I'm never going to do that."

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