Happy to be in Clemson

CLEMSON - Amidst the madness that is March basketball, Damarcus Harrison announced that he would put his BYU basketball career on pause.

Little did he know that it would never resume.

"During the NCAA Tournament, I told my coach and the press that I was going to do my mission," Harrison said on Tuesday, during the Clemson basketball media day. "During that time period, I went through all of my interviews. When the season ended, I went home so I could finish up the paperwork. It became delayed until next year.

"So, when I tried to go back to BYU -- they rotate their scholarships -- they already rotated mine and gave it to someone else. So, when I tried to go back, I couldn't go back."

Harrison was stuck in Greenwood, living with his parents, working at Eaton Electrical, building transformers and waiting out the next year to start his Mormon mission.

It wasn't easy.

"I thought I was going to be working that job for a whole year," Harrison said. "Being out of shape for those three or four months, it took a toll on my body."

In just a matter of months, Harrison went from averaging 3.2 points per game as a freshman at BYU to an "old man."

"I felt like I was living an old man lifestyle already," he said, with a laugh. "I was working 9-5, getting up in the morning and just sitting on the couch and going to sleep, doing the same thing every day. It was pretty stressful."

Before the summer was over, Brad Brownell came calling with a full-ride from Clemson. The situation was ideal for both parties.

The Tigers needed more wings with the injuries to Devin Coleman and Jaron Blossomgame. And Harrison wanted to keep playing ball and going to school if he wasn't on his two-year mission.

"I actually only released my name to Clemson, because it was in-state, and just so I could stay in the church with the people I already was working with, so I could hurry up the process and get on my mission," Harrison said.

As a senior at The Christ School in Arden, N.C., Harrison nearly signed with the Tigers. Along with BYU and Clemson, his other option was Florida State.

"I really wanted to stay strong in my faith," he said, when asked about his decision to attend BYU. "It was a hard decision to make. But, when it came down to it, I decided to go out to BYU."

Within the next several months, Harrison will learn where he'll serve his two-year mission.

"Whenever I submit my paperwork for my final, they'll let me know where I'll go," Harrison said. "I'll open a letter and find out where [I] go. It's like winning a sweepstakes."

Right now, two things are for certain.

Harrison will spend the next five months playing basketball at Clemson.

And, in two years, he'll resume his final two seasons of eligibility in Tigertown.

"There were a lot of ups and downs. Just working, having a full-time job and not knowing I was going to be able to get into school and, then, finally being able to get into school and being able to play, it's a real blessing for me," Harrison said.

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