Baarts, Harris to join UCCS for the 2008-09 basketball season

By Doug Fitzgerald published May 13, 2008

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball coach Russ Caton announced Tuesday the signing two Colorado Springs-area freshmen.

Joining the Mountain Lions for the 2008-09 season with be Levi Harris of Coronado High School and Matt Baarts of Colorado Springs Christian School.

"It's been a goal at UCCS to keep the top Colorado Springs players in town," said Caton. "Matt and Levi are a big step in that direction."

Harris, a 6-foot-1 guard, was named first-team All-Area by the Gazette after averaging 15.9 points and 4.3 assists as a senior at Coronado. More impressive, though, was his efficiency. According to RockyPreps.com, Harris converted on 64.8 percent of his field goal attempts, including 44.3 percent from 3-point range. As a junior, he was over 50 percent from long range.

Baarts, meanwhile, was an integral part of the CSCS team that went all the way to the Colorado Class 3A championship game. The 6-foot-5 forward averaged 13.9 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior while shooting 55.9 percent from the field and was named first-team Class 3A Tri-Peaks League.

Harris and Baarts are the second and third freshmen signed by Caton this season. They join Scott Sublousky, who played as a freshman and sophomore at Liberty High School before finishing his prep career at Ramstein High School in Germany.

That trio continues Caton's increasing emphasis on recruiting and developing freshmen instead of relying solely upon transfers.

"You will always need transfers at the Division II level, but it's also important to have a good mix in your recruiting," said Caton. "We're always looking to bring in impact freshmen."

That philosophy certainly worked this past season. By the end of the year, then-freshmen Jordan McClung, Abram Ziemer and Chris Fernandez were all in the starting lineup while Rob Howe made a contribution off the bench. Tommy Klaussner, who was expected to be an impact player in the post, missed the season with an injury but is now healthy and should be a big factor for UCCS this season.

The addition of Harris and Baarts also continued Caton's commitment to building with Colorado players instead of looking out of state. Eleven of the 15 players that are currently listed on the 2008-09 roster played high school basketball in Colorado.

"I want to make UCCS basketball successful," said Caton, "and I want to do it with Colorado kids as the foundation."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Abram ZiemerAbram Ziemer10GFr.
Chris FernandezChris Fernandez30FFr.
Chris FernandezChris Fernandez30FSo.
Chris FernandezChris Fernandez24F
Scott SublouskyScott Sublousky15GFr.
Scott SublouskyScott Sublousky15GSr.
Levi HarrisLevi Harris34GFr.
Levi HarrisLevi Harris34G
Matt BaartsMatt BaartsF
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