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NMSU’s AJ Harris denied waiver for 6th year of eligibility by NCAA

AJ Harris
NMSU Atletics
AJ Harris of the Aggies.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- A beloved leader for the New Mexico State University basketball team has suited up for the last time.

AJ Harris was denied a waiver for a 6th year of eligibility by the NCAA.

Harris was seeking a sixth year of eligibility after injuries kept from playing in all but three of the Aggies' 31 games in the 2019-20 campaign. 

"We are disappointed in the denial of AJ Harris' waiver by the NCAA," commented NM State head men's basketball coach Chris Jans. "Unfortunately, with this decision, we have now exhausted any and all possibilities for AJ to play another year of college basketball."

As a result of two separate injuries suffered through the course of the 2019-20 season, Harris sat out all but three of the Aggies' 31 contests.

A hand injury kept him out of New Mexico State's first 13 games of the season, but upon recovering from that the Dayton, Ohio, product made his season debut in his team's neutral site victory over Mississippi State in Jackson, Miss., on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019.

In 17 minutes, Harris netted three points and dished out a pair of assists. 

Harris' 2019-20 season finale came on Saturday, Jan. 4, in his team's 2019-20 WAC opener at California Baptist.

In just eight minutes, he generated nine points, two assists and three steals but before the end of the first half Harris suffered a foot injury which kept him sidelined for the remainder of the season.

"We will continue to support AJ in his professional basketball pursuits," Jans continued. "During his time in Las Cruces, AJ helped us win at a high level, accomplish many of our goals and at the end he earned his degree which will continue to open doors for him in the future."

Harris' NM State career started in the 2017-18 season where he helped the Aggies win their first of three consecutive Western Athletic Conference (WAC) regular season titles.

That year, Harris earned WAC All-Newcomer Team honors after averaging 9.4 points, 2.9 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game.

With Harris on their side, the Aggies went 28-6 and won the WAC Tournament en route to their 21st NCAA Tournament appearances. 

The following season, Harris collected All-WAC Second Team and WAC All-Defensive Team accolades after guiding the Aggies to WAC regular season and tournament titles once again.

Those titles yielded another NCAA Tournament appearance where NM State came within one point of knocking off eventual Final Four participant Auburn.

Harris' career started at Ohio State at a freshman in 2015-16 and due to NCAA transfer rules he had to sit out the 2016-17 season upon arriving at NM State. 

Harris issuing the following statement about his time at NMSU;

"Last season definitely wasn't what I wanted it to be, but nothing can take away from the memories I've made in Las Cruces as part of one of the best teams in the nation. New Mexico State is a special place because of our basketball program and the fans that love us. We feed off your passion and are proud to say you're the best fans in the nation. Once an Aggie, always an Aggie! Much love."

New Mexico Sports / NMSU

Adrian Ochoa

Adrian Ochoa is ABC-7’s Sports Director.

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