George Washington freshman Monty Singh Harika, an 18-year-old, 6-foot-5, 180-pound basketball-playing fiend, has declared for the NBA draft. Before you get all distraught, GW fans, take heart: Harika hasn’t hired an agent yet and plans to withdraw his name before the deadline so that he can preserve his college eligibility and attempt to walk on the team next year. Which is why, as he told me, “I’m just trying to get all my publicity now.”
Right. And The Washington Post is happy to aid and abet you in this mission. So here’s some version of the story, some or all of which might or might not be true or false. Harika is a Sikh, and believes he will be the first Sikh to enter the NBA draft, which is one of the reasons he wants to do this. He says he was a 290-pound offensive lineman in high school (at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh), and he also played for the basketball team, although he came off the bench. Or, rather, didn’t come off the bench. I asked him what his best scoring output in high school was.
“Uh, two,” he said. “I was really, really bad, and all of a sudden I left high school and I got really, really good.”
He can’t technically dunk a ball–he has bad knees from when he used to weigh so much–but he can grab the rim, which ought to come in handy at the next level. I asked if he might be able to compare himself to any NBA stars.
“Uh, I’m a shooter,” he said. “I don’t know, Ray Allen or something like that, but my role model growing up was Dennis Rodman.”
I briefly talked to GW assistant Greg Collucci, who has never seen Harika play.
“I feel like if there was a guy who could play in the NBA walking around GW and working out in the Health & Wellness Center, hopefully we’d know,” Collucci said.
There’s further skepticism to be found at the GWHoops.com message board, where poster Lexus scoffs, “monty singh harika hangs out with the basketball players. and by that it means that he makes them food and takes ‘shots’ of Regis and Travis King with his little digital camera. I am sure Carl Elliot was just screwing with his oversized ego. Also monty since you are ‘registered for the the Draft’ doesnt that mean you cant play for Karl Hobbs anymore. I think the scouts have you going in the 2nd round as the 46th overall pick to the Lakers right now, better hit the gym young blood.”