Hawks Co-Captain Harris Wichard scored his 1,000th career point against Buffalo State on Feb. 11, becoming the 14th player in New Paltz Men’s Basketball history to accomplish this feat.
As a third-year, Wichard has another year to climb the New Paltz all-time scoring leader board. Wichard was modest about his achievement.
“It’s a testament to the work I’ve done since I’ve been here, but at the same time I’m more of a team guy, and that’s a team thing too with point guards getting me in good spots to score,” Wichard said. “So team first, but at the same time I’m really proud of the accomplishment.”
Wichard was the first recruit to commit to New Paltz when Head Coach Dagan Nelson took the job. He saw potential in him after seeing him play in high school. The coach expressed how proud he was of his young star.
“He’s all about the right thing. Being a great teammate, leading by example, he just wants to win. He would be willing to give back all the points for a SUNYAC championship and an NCAA tournament opportunity,” Nelson said.
Wichard gave credit to his head coach for helping him along the way. He said the best thing about his coach is his confidence in him and how he has helped him develop into the player he is today.
Wichard said he has seen it since his first-year when Nelson put him in the starting lineup early in the season. Nelson has always given him the green light to shoot the ball and he loves how his coach is always free to work out with him and help him get better.
Wichard’s 1,000th point came in a losing effort for the Hawks which he said gave him mixed feelings.
“I had my family and friends there to support me and a great supporting cast, but at the same time it was disappointing to lose a home game to Brockport, especially when we’re jockeying for a position,” Wichard said.
“We’re in a bit of a slump right now, so definitely a bittersweet feeling, but it still felt pretty good to have my family and friends there.”
The rest of the Hawks were very proud of their teammate. They had a plaque made in honor of his milestone and the coaches had a special ball for him.
Wichard said that of all the things he does to make himself better, he believes that mental preparation is the most important piece of the puzzle.
“The main thing about basketball for me is just believing,” Wichard said.
He said the game is much more mental than physical; that if you do what you know you need to do, you’ll be ready.
“That’s what I’ve done since my freshman year. I’ve worked at it and I’ve been ready to play in the games and I’ve been successful for the most part,” Wichard said.
Nelson said that Wichard prepares for games constantly and if he could sit in the gym all night, he would.
“He leads by example and is the hardest working player on the team. All the success he’s achieved is warranted because of his hard work,” Nelson said.
Wichard’s personal accomplishment has not wavered his goals and he said he is still focused on being one of the first players to win an NCAA tournament game. He said he wants to improve the Hawk’s win-loss record, get far into the SUNYAC tournament and possibly the NCAA Tournament in his last two seasons as a Hawk.
“For me personally, I just want to keep helping the team the way I’m doing it, offensively and even defensively too,” he said.