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James Clemens senior Cameron Harris, No. 40, is playing his final season of high school basketball with a steel rod in his left leg inserted during surgery just prior to the start of his final campaign for the Jets. Photo- Bob Labbe

Cameron Harris Makes Comeback For James Clemens Basketball

MADISON- Cameron Harris is a proven example of being an inspiration for others around him. Even his head coach, Danny Petty, in his 46th season as a head coach, said Harris’ comeback from a possible career-ending surgery is one of the best he’s ever been around.

“Cameron is a great example of what you can do to comeback with hard work and what a great kid is,” said Petty.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior basketball player for James Clemens is making a comeback from being the team’s top rebounder and team leader of a year ago. He’s doing so after undergoing a complex surgery of his left leg where a tumor on his shin was removed and, to stabilize the leg, a steel road was inserted along the bone in his lower leg. The surgery came more than a year after the growth was discovered at the end of Harris’ sophomore year.

“I played all of last season knowing the long-shaped benign tumor was there and knowing I wasn’t at 100-percent, but I wanted to help out my team,” said Harris, who has played a part-time role so far this season for Petty and the Jets. “It got to be where I couldn’t make the first 20 minutes of practice so I finally decided to do something.”

Harris went to a local surgeon and the decision for the surgery was soon made. During the off-season Harris underwent the procedure, which left him with a six-inch steel rod along his left leg. Heading into his senior year, Harris knew it was like starting over in his quest to be a good basketball player and even better teammate and person.

“I think I’m better all-around as I realized what other athletes have gone through during injuries,” said Harris. “I thank God I didn’t miss my senior season of play like many others have done.”

Petty is glad to have Harris on board for the 2018-2019 season despite knowing one of his team leaders would not be at his physical best. Petty added, “Not having him play like he did last season has really hurt. I feel badly for him and hopefully he’ll be close to being fully recovered by the time we get into post-season play. Prior to his surgery, Cameron was in the best physical shape than anyone on our team. He has a great attitude. You can’t ask for anything more from him.”

In the recent Huntsville City Classic during the Christmas school break where the Jets were 1-1 in tournament play, Harris had 10 points and 5 rebounds in his limited playing time. His time on the court stems from intense post-surgery rehabilitation including walking on crutches for several weeks, struggling to walk on his own and spending every hour possible shooting layups and free throws every time the gymnasium was available.

Due to the surgery and little use of the muscles surrounding the surgery, Harris’ left leg was considerably smaller in physical size than his right leg. He slowly strengthened the leg and though he’s not 100-percent, Harris continues to help his team on the court when called upon and encouragement from his spot on the sidelines.

“He’s an experienced player and is a team leader,” added Petty. “His great attitude is an inspiration for us all.”

Harris has a 3.7 grade point average and would like to earn a degree in broadcasting and possibly have his own sports talk program. He once was a four-sport athlete and did not make the basketball team in his seventh and eighth grade years at Liberty Middle School. He admitted he just wasn’t good enough, but his faith in himself through his spiritual leadership kept him on course to where he is today.

Harris understands his current condition will hamper his quest in possibly playing at the next level, but knows his experience could help others. He suggested to other athletes who go down with serious injuries to have faith.

“I would talk to God every single day before the surgery and keep talking to God afterwards thanking him for giving you the strength and for the opportunity to play again,” said Harris of his advice. “God has bigger plans for you and you’ll have to find that while on the court.”

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