Zion Harmon as an eighth-grader helped Bowling Green win its first boys' Sweet Sixteen basketball title.
Harmon as a freshman led Adair County to a 20-12 record and to the 5th Region semifinals.
Harmon as a sophomore will make an immediate impact wherever he's playing. Where that will be is anybody's guess.
The state's most highly touted basketball recruit is also its most nomadic. Harmon arrived at Bowling Green after starring for Lighthouse Christian in Tennessee as a seventh-grader. Before that he was a budding star in his home state of Maryland, where he made headlines in elementary school.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Mike Harmon, Zion's father, told Edward Marlowe of the Paducah Sun on Friday that the family was interested in making another move. Harmon’s father later confirmed to the Herald-Leader that potential in-state landing spots include Marshall County, McCracken County and Scott County, as well as a possible return to Bowling Green.
Going out of state for prep school remains an option, too.
Mike, who is a traveling nurse, told the Herald-Leader that several out-of-state prep schools have been in touch — Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Tennessee and Huntington Prep in West Virginia among them — but the family wants to remain in Kentucky.
"For a guard, there's a good level of competition and there's good coaching in Kentucky," Mike Harmon said. " ... I think that it would be nice for him to finish his high school career in Kentucky. It's not hurting him, 'cause in the summer time he plays on the highest (AAU) level. I think from a school point of view, I want him to always be in situation where he's at a natural growth development point as well as a normal high school setting."
Southern Methodist University, Stephen F. Austin, Tennessee and Vanderbilt have already offered Zion, who's considered among the top basketball players nationally in the class of 2021. He averaged a state-best 32.7 points per game and finished with 1,014 points for Adair County last season. He's currently playing on the Nike EYBL Circuit with Brad Beal Elite, for whom he had averaged 6.8 points and 3.4 assists entering the weekend, and next month at the USA Basketball U17 training camp in Colorado Springs will compete for a spot on the FIBA World Cup team. He was one of the top players for the gold-medal winning U16 team last year.
Zion, who's sitting on 1,634 career points (in-state), would have a strong shot at breaking the boys' state scoring record (4,337) if he plays his final three years in Kentucky. It's possible that he could re-classify to the 2020 class, however.
Deron Breeze, Adair County's head coach, said Zion was enrolled through Adair County's final day of school on Friday and finished the school year with a 4.0 grade-point average. Breeze thinks the family should be free to do as they please.
"His dad moved here and they can move wherever they want, just like any other kid in the state," Breeze said. "If his dad physically moves, everything's legit on that end."
KHSAA Bylaw 6, which governs transfers, allows eligibility waivers for a "bona fide change in residence," but such waivers can be restricted and denied in a few exceptions. Only one of those restrictions — "If the change in schools is motivated in whole or part by a desire to participate in athletics at the new school" — would appear to immediately threaten Zion's eligibility at a new in-state school, but it might also be difficult to validate.
Joe Jackson, a radio broadcaster for WLLE and WNGO in Mayfield, reported on Twitter on Saturday that Zion had enrolled at Marshall County High School. Asked if there was any truth to that report, Mike Harmon texted: "No."
Scott County Coach Billy Hicks told the Herald-Leader that there has not been any communication between his program and the Harmon family. Hicks said he's been on vacation the past several weeks and returned to Georgetown last Monday.
"I'd love to have some interest there," Hicks said with a laugh. "Maybe in our dreams. I appreciate him putting Scott County in the mix. I think any coach would love to have a player like that. He's an excellent kid. I wish he'd just enjoy his high school experience and have fun."
Asked about Mike Harmon's willingness to speak openly about his son's potential transfer, Hicks said:
"I've been in it 40 years. Nothing a parent does can surprise me. Trust me, I've seen it all."