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In a huge blow for one of the top prospects in the state of Illinois and for a program that was a potential preseason top 25 team in the Chicago area, the Sun-Times has learned through multiple sources that the playing career of Malek Harris is over at Sandburg.
Harris, who is ranked among the top 100 prospects in the country and committed to Marquette last spring, will not be allowed to play this season at Sandburg, due to disciplinary reasons. According to the online Sandburg High School Honor Code, multiple offenses can result in the suspension for one calendar year of performances, activities or competitions.
The multi-faceted 6-7 forward is the No. 6 ranked prospect in Illinois in the Class of 2014. Harris averaged 17.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game as a junior and was expected to be the catalyst for a team that returned virtually everyone from a year ago.
This isn't the first adversity Harris or Sandburg basketball has faced. A year ago Sandburg started the season 0-11 without Harris in the lineup as he was suspended for the first 11 games for undisclosed violations. But coach Todd Allen's team regrouped and went 10-7 in the second half of the season. With Harris leading the charge as a No. 18 seed in the regional, the Eagles upset Shepard in the opening round game and stunned No. 3 seed Homewood-Flossmoor in the regional semifinals.
In addition to the expected return of a difference-maker in Harris, Sandburg also welcomed back Alec Martinez and Niko Kojiones, a pair of junior guards who started a year ago. Niko Cahue, a 6-6 senior, is fresh off a terrific summer, while 6-7 junior T.J. Vorva transferred in from Marist. With those pieces in place, Sandburg was poised to make a run at favored Bolingbrook and defending champ H-F in the Southwest Suburban Blue this winter.