During her high school career, which wrapped up just a few short months ago, Desiree Harris grew accustomed to scoring a lot of points in just about every game.

With her freshman season at Colorado on the horizon, Harris realizes her high-scoring days are over -- at least for now -- but she's OK with that.

"I'm ready for whatever role I have to take on the team," said the 5-foot-8 guard, who starred at St. Joseph Notre Dame in Oakland, Calif.

Harris has been on campus this month taking a sociology class, working out with teammates and getting to know life in Boulder.

"I didn't start out too good because at first the altitude was tough to adjust to because I have exercised-induced asthma," she said.

She got some new medication, though, and has become more comfortable in her new surroundings.

"I'm starting to learn how different people play," she said. "I'd like to impress (the rest of the players) a little bit. I have to show them I can compete with them."

As one of four new freshmen -- along with Zoe Beard-Fails, Briana Watts and Haley Smith -- Harris joins a team that has been stockpiling talent under coach Linda Lappe.

During her three years on the job, Lappe has made significant improvements in the overall talent and athleticism of the CU roster. That's why the Buffs went 25-7 last year, earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine years and landing in the Top 25 rankings nearly every week during the final three months.


Harris gives Lappe another major talent in the backcourt.

"Desiree is a smart, athletic combo guard who can get to the rim off the dribble as well as hit the 3," Lappe said when Harris signed her letter of intent last fall.

Lappe and Harris also believe Harris' speed could be a major asset on defense.

"I'm quick, so I think my speed will help," Harris said. "I also have a good mid-range jumper and I can help cheer on the team and stuff like that, bringing positive energy."

Harris isn't exactly sure what role she'll play this season, but expects to play point guard. The Buffs are lacking experience at that position, with the graduation of two-time All-Pac-12 point guard Chucky Jeffery.

Sophomore Ky Weston is a true point guard, but saw only limited minutes (10.0 per game) as a freshman last year. She figures to get a great opportunity to win the starting job this year.

Senior Brittany Wilson has been the starting shooting guard the past two years, but will also play the point. She is the most experienced in that role, as she has often brought the ball down the court the past two years. Her 70 assists ranked second on the team last year.

Harris hopes to get her shot, too, although she believes this is a year for her to learn.

"I think I could compete for (the starting job), but I think for me personally, it might be better to take a reserve role first, so I can watch other people and how it's supposed to be done," she said.

She's already doing that, having spent this month hanging around Weston and Wilson, observing how they go through drills and how they run the team.

"I try to replicate what they're doing," Harris said.

No, Harris isn't likely to put up 25 points on a given night this season, like she did in high school. But, her mindset going into next season suggests she'll be a better player a year from now.

"Whatever happens, if I play a lot or I don't play a lot, just being here, I've already learned so many different drills and skills from the coaches and different players," she said. "I think this is going to be overall a good learning opportunity for me."

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