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Work with weights has helped Tigers’ Harmon elevate

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Tyler Harmon got in the weight room because he didn’t want to get knocked around on his way to the basket. But he’s not going to knock down any of his basketball-playing peers who aren’t so enamored with pumping iron. 

“It’s fitting for a game-style. If someone is like me and attacks a lot and is trying to finish, get in the air and have hang time, it’s huge to get in the weight room,” Harmon said. “Each player is different. I don’t want to say some players are lazy, it’s just not for some players. If someone is a knockdown shooter, they may not want to adjust their body a whole lot.”

Harmon is confident his ever-growing passion for weightlifting is among the top reasons why his senior season is shaping up to be his best at Ozark. He’s making 3-point goals and converting on three-point plays.

“Getting stronger and being in the weight room has helped me finish a lot better after contact,” he said. “Going to the rim, you’re going to get hacked and you’re not going to get every single call. You have to fight through it. Also, it’s helped me be quicker and more athletic.”

With the Tigers tipping off COC play this week, Harmon has proven to be one of the conference’s best all-around players to this point. He appears well on his way to an All-COC First-Team selection.

A point guard the past two seasons, the 6-foot-1 swingman has posted two double-doubles in Ozark’s 10-5 start. He’s established single-game career-highs with 16 rebounds, seven assists twice and five steals. He’s fresh from a 23-point, eight-rebound, three-steal performance in Ozark’s victory versus Columbia Hickman last week.

“Harmon got bodied a couple times (against Hickman) and finished through the contact,” Tigers coach Mark Schweitzer said. “You have to be strong with the ball, especially at the Class 6 level. You have to be able to withstand bumps that don’t get called. They’re not all going to get called.”

Harmon highlighted the win versus Hickman with a strong two-handed dunk. He’s come a long way playing above the rim since his first dunk a little more than two years ago.

“I had a little rim-grazer in the summer between ninth grade and 10th grade. It was super weak,” he said. “I really just started dunking easily this year. Building up your legs and core is going to help you jump higher.”

Schweitzer would like Ozark’s up-and-coming prospects to take note of Harmon’s work in the weight room as an example to follow.

“I wish our younger kids would embrace the weight room earlier,” Schweitzer said. “It’s hard to get basketball players to want to lift weights. Many of them aren’t football players, so they aren’t in there and they shy away from it because they tend not to be strong at an early age. No one likes to do something they aren’t good at. He’s a testament to why the weight room is important. The weight room has really helped him elevate his game. He’s turned himself into a very good athlete and a very complete player.”

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