CINCINNATI, Ohio (Cincinnati Enquirer) - Coach John Brannen landed one of the highest-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats’ basketball recruits in a decade on Thursday.
Shooting guard Zach Harvey, the No. 48 overall player in the 247sports.com class of 2020 composite rankings, announced on Instagram that he will enroll this summer at UC and is eligible to play in the upcoming season.
"We would like to welcome Zach to the University of Cincinnati," Brannen said in a statement. "I've had the opportunity to evaluate Zach closely during the last several years on the AAU circuit as well as with USA Basketball. He brings the length, athleticism and play making ability we look for in guards for our system."
Harvey, a 6-4, 170-pound Topeka, Kansas, native, was previously one of the most sought-after prospects in the class of 2019 and reportedly held scholarship offers from Kansas, UCLA, Oklahoma, Ohio State and others. As a junior, he averaged 23.1 points per game and led Hayden High to a state championship.
But an incident in March 2017 changed his recruiting circumstances.
In June 2018, Harvey pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors, endangering a child and breach of privacy, stemming from an investigation involving two other teenage boys and an underage teenage girl. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, a criminal complaint filed in October 2017 indicated the teenage boys possessed a sexually explicit image or video of a child younger than 18 years old.
UC director of athletics Mike Bohn said in a statement about Harvey, "After a thorough review of the background and character of prospective University of Cincinnati men’s basketball student-athlete Zach Harvey, he signed a grant-in-aid agreement to enroll for the summer term at UC. Zach’s behavior two years ago while a 16-year old was not representative of the standards to which we hold our current student-athletes, but during a recent on-campus visit, he took full ownership of his actions without making any excuses.
“Zach recognizes it is a privilege to be a student-athlete at UC and it’s our expectation he will be an upstanding member of our campus community. We are working with Zach on a plan to ensure continued personal development along with his success as a student-athlete. We will hold him accountable to this process and work to evaluate his progress. He is aware of these expectations and accepts he will be held to an even higher standard than his peers and there will be zero tolerance for any behavior during his time at UC which is inconsistent with our department’s guiding principles. Zach is committed to earning the trust of his teammates, coaches, fellow students and athletics staff.”
Harvey reclassified to the 2020 class and enrolled at Prolific Prep in Napa, California. According to the academy's websites, Prolific, "provides a unique opportunity for serious student-athletes to be immersed in an environment of unmatched basketball training..."
Harvey averaged 16.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for Prolific Prep during the 2018-19 season.
He'll join a host of newcomers Brannen, hired in April to replace Mick Cronin, has added to the UC roster for the upcoming season:
- graduate transfer guard Jaevin Cumberland
- graduate transfer point guard Chris McNeal (Tennessee Tech/New Mexico)
- graduate transfer center Jaume Sorolla (Valparaiso)
- freshman guard Mika Adams-Woods (Syracuse, New York)
- freshman guard and Jeremiah Davenport (Cincinnati - Moeller High School)
- transfer center Chris Vogt (Northern Kentucky).
Since 2009, only Lance Stephenson (five-star shooting guard in the 2009 class) and Jermaine Lawrence (five-star small forward in the 2013 class) were ranked higher than Harvey.
"Thank you God for putting me In this position," Harvey wrote in a post on Twitter. "Without my Dad, family, friends and coaches none of this would be possible. I am so very grateful for everyone that has supported me and stuck with me since Day 1. This upcoming season I will be a Cincinnati Bearcat."
The Bearcats have one verbal commitment, three-star point guard Mike Saunders, in the 2020 class.