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4-Star Basketball Recruit Elzie Harrington Commits to Harvard

Harvard men's basketball head coach Tommy Amaker secured a committment from Elzie Harrington, a four-star shooting guard who is ranked among the best in the nation.
Harvard men's basketball head coach Tommy Amaker secured a committment from Elzie Harrington, a four-star shooting guard who is ranked among the best in the nation. By Timothy R. O'Meara
By Jo B. Lemann, Crimson Staff Writer

Elzie Harrington — a four-star shooting guard ranked among the best in the nation — committed to Harvard on Thursday, an important pickup for the men’s basketball program after several star players transferred over the summer.

The six-foot-five senior at St. John Bosco High School received offers from UCLA, the University of Southern California, and Arizona State University before verbally committing to Harvard. According to the ESPN 100 player rankings, Harrington is the 33rd overall prospect in the 2025 cycle and the ninth ranked shooting guard.

The recruitment could help Harvard rebound from a tepid 2023 season, which the team ended 14-13 overall and 5-9 within the Ivy League, missing out on the postseason after a loss to Brown in March.

Per Ivy League policy, Harrington’s verbal commitment does not guarantee him admission, but it is common practice at Harvard for coaches to be in communication with the admissions office about recruits before making verbal offers.

Harrington did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the decision.

The commitment comes after The Crimson’s rookie of the year Malik O. Mack ’27, a leading scorer for the team, announced his transfer to Georgetown in April and Chisom Okpara ’26 committed to transfer to Stanford in May.

Mack’s family has spoken openly about the draw of name, image, and likeness money at other schools that have NIL collectives — booster-funded groups that sometimes pay players huge sums. At Georgetown, Mack could see NIL payouts into the high six-figure range.

Harvard, which doesn’t have a collective, instead relies on the appeal of a degree from the University to attract talent, touting what Athletic Director Erin McDermott called a “40-year opportunity, not a four-year opportunity.”

Still, some donors and alumni worry that Harvard’s lack of NIL collectives could hinder its ability to recruit top athletes, especially since the Ivy League doesn’t provide athletic scholarships, opting for exclusively need-based financial aid instead.

Now, with a proposed NCAA settlement that would allow Power Five conferences to begin revenue-sharing with athletes, Harvard will be operating in a market where schools can offer recruits additional financial incentives not found in the Ivy League.

In an April interview, McDermott acknowledged that Harvard may lose out on some recruits in the coming years — specifically citing basketball as the program that had been most affected.

Despite these disadvantages, Harrington’s commitment is a positive sign for Harvard’s continued recruiting power — an effort led by head coach Tommy Amaker, who is in his eighteenth year with the team and is Harvard’s winningest head basketball coach.

Amaker declined to comment on Harrington’s commitment, citing NCAA and Ivy League rules.

Thomas W. Mannix ’81, a former Harvard basketball player and donor, said that while assistant coaches help identify potential recruits, Amaker is ultimately the one to sell Harvard and himself as a coach to players.

“Tommy’s phenomenal at it,” Mannix said of his recruiting ability. “He’s gotten great talent at Harvard, so he’s just amazing.”

“But it’s not easy,” he added.

While Harrington could still transfer to another school in coming years, he pointed to Amaker as a reason for his commitment in a Thursday interview with On3, describing the coach as having a “vision” for his future.

“I believe in Tommy Amaker and he believes in me,” Harrington said.

—Staff writer Jo B. Lemann can be reached at Follow her on X @Jo_Lemann.

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