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Harrison to See Action?

Dartmouth College freshman basketball player Cole Harrison. (Courtesy of Dartmouth Sports Information)

Dartmouth College freshman basketball player Cole Harrison. (Courtesy of Dartmouth Sports Information)

Half an hour after the Dartmouth College men’s basketball team’s dispiriting loss to visiting Hartford on Tuesday, a lone Big Green player could be found practicing on the court. Freshman Cole Harrison, a 6 foot 10 center from Brentwood, Tenn., has yet to see college action after battling mononucleosis and losing significant weight during November and December.

Harrison said he fell from 245 pounds to 210 while sick, but didn’t know he was ill until he’d already played through the virus for a month. By then, he was only able to really function for about two hours per day and the coaching staff sent him home early for the holiday break so he could rest and recover.

“My doctor didn’t tell me at the time, but I guess my spleen was so swollen that if I had taken a hit (to the torso) it could have ruptured,” Harrison said.

Dartmouth athletic director Harry Sheehy, at one time a highly-successful NCAA Division III basketball coach at Williams (Mass.) College, gushed about Harrison’s potential during the preseason, and the player said he’s hoping to debut at Harvard on Saturday. It’s not likely he’ll play more than a few minutes, but the Big Green will gladly take even that. Once starting center Gabas Maldunas falls into foul trouble, there’s really no other well-suited substitute.

Harrison, who played at a pair of small, Tennessee high schools, moved on to Montrose Christian Academy in Maryland as a senior, where he averaged seven points and eight rebounds for a team that finished last winter ranked 25th in the country. The Washington Post reported that Harrison chose Dartmouth over Division I scholarship offers from schools including Towson, Maryland-Baltimore County, Lipscomb, Mercer and Wofford.