Sophomore standout takes game to next level


Landon Williams

Sophomore guard Terence Harcum dribbles through the Bobcat defense in App State’s 82-75 victory over Texas State Feb. 16, 2023.

Ethan Smith, Sports Editor

Following the end of the 2021-22 men’s basketball season, the backcourt of the team saw massive departures. Senior guards Michael Almonacy and Justin Forrest graduated, while Adrian Delph declared for the NBA draft. This left a lot of production needing to be filled for the Black and Gold. Insert sophomore guard Terence Harcum.

Growing up, Harcum patterned his own game after a few different NBA players. Most notably Portland Trail Blazers’ star Damian Lillard, New Orleans Pelicans’ guard CJ McCollum and Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo. 

In his high school career, Harcum scored 2,418 points, which ranks 13th all-time in North Carolina high school basketball history. His ability to put the ball in the basket drew the attention of head coach Dustin Kerns.

“We loved his ability to score the ball, we loved his ball handling ability,” Kerns said. “We kinda just fell in love with him and his game and his family.”

Kerns also said Harcum has a gift of being able to get by people and is very difficult to stay in front of for opposing defenders.

Harcum had a few offers from schools like Elon and Winthrop, before ultimately deciding on the Mountaineers. The effort made by the App State coaching staff stood out to Harcum.

“Just how much the coaches wanted me, it felt like they really wanted me to be here and that was something that I wasn’t getting from a lot of coaches,” Harcum said. “So just them expressing they want me very much, it made my decision final.”

After arriving on campus, teammates saw the work ethic that led him to App State.

“He was a real hard worker and he was always in the gym, whether it was with a coach or on his own,” senior forward Donovan Gregory said.

Despite being a prolific scorer in high school, Harcum did not see much playing time as a freshman. In 18 appearances, Harcum scored a total of 37 points in 151 minutes. Gregory noticed the potential Harcum flashed during team practices. 

“We had to guard him on the scout team every day, so we could definitely see he was a scorer,” Gregory said. 

Harcum was watching a lot of film on Almonacy, which allowed him to see both the mistakes and the positives, Gregory said. Watching three All-Conference guards helped Harcum to see the game differently.

“I was able to learn a lot from them guys,” Harcum said. “Just talking to them a lot last year, the pace they play at, making the right plays at the right time.”

During the off-season, Harcum worked on getting into better shape and focused on his conditioning for the upcoming season. Additionally, Kerns and the rest of the coaching staff identified Harcum needed to be playing off the ball more in order to free him for more scoring opportunities. 

The coaching adjustment paid off, as Harcum averaged 11.2 points per game on 36% shooting from 3-point range and 85% from the free-throw line while adding in 2.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Harcum scored in double figures in 21 games this season, including a career-high 28 points in the Mountaineers 72-58 win over Old Dominion Jan. 21. Against the Monarchs, Harcum drained a career-high eight 3-pointers. In the following game, Harcum scored 21 points as App State defeated Georgia State 71-59. Harcum noted his confidence as a big difference from the beginning of the year.

“I feel like I’m a confident player, but when your shot is not going your way, the game not going your way, you get down naturally,” Harcum said. “My teammates, coaches instill that confidence in me to do the right things on the court whether I mess up or not.”

The bond with his teammates is one of Harcum’s favorite parts about being a Mountaineer.

“The camaraderie, the team,” Harcum said. “Everybody is over there huddled up laughing and joking so the team aspect is what I love the most.”

Harcum helped lead App State to a 16-16 record and 9-10 in Sun Belt play as the Mountaineers were eliminated from the Sun Belt Tournament Thursday against South Alabama 68-61. Harcum led the team in scoring for the seventh time on the season with 17 points.