Harler Impresses During China Trip

Central grad nets 28 against Lithuania

Photo Provided Wheeling Central graduate and current WVU standout Chase Harler recently went to China as part of Team Ohio to play in a round-robin tournament.

WHEELING–Wheeling Central graduate and current West Virginia University basketball standout Chase Harler has been showcasing his skills on the court for years.

The 6-foot-3 junior guard recently had the opportunity to share his talents with the world as he traveled to China to participate in a round-robin tournament against some fierce competition as a member of Team Ohio.

Harler was the only member of the squad from outside of the Buckeye State chosen to play by coaches Jared and Bobby Kortsen.

Jared Kortsen is a basketball coach at Urbana University, while Bobby Kortsen organized the first Team Ohio in the year 2000 and has even included LeBron James on the squad in the past.

“The Kortsens saw me play in high school and even asked me to play then but I don’t think I met the age requirements or something,” Harler said. “But they continued to follow me at West Virginia and they got ahold of my coaches to ask me to play for them this summer.

“We represented the USA. We only took nine players but everyone else was from Ohio. We had two guys from high school, one in college, graduates from Duquesne and Clemson and three older players, as well.”

Harler admits that there was an adjustment period during his first few days in China, but once he became accustomed to the time change, it was back to simply playing basketball.

“It was a bit of a culture change,” Harler said. “It took 24 hours to get there. We met in Columbus for a quick open gym and then left on a bus to Chicago. Then, we had a 15-hour flight to Shanghai and then another two-hour flight.

“The time difference caused some issues at the beginning but I would do it all again, although the food was not as appetizing as I expected.”

The atmosphere was quite strange for Harler and the rest of Team Ohio during their first game, as well.

“The first gym that we played in was about 90 degrees,” Harler said.

“Everyone in the crowd was smoking cigarettes and there was a haze in the gym.”

There were also some rule changes during the tournament that included a 24-second shot clock, but the sharpshooter from Moundsville was not phased.

In his first three games, Harler produced 26 points in a win over Bosnia, 18 points against Lithuania and 12 points and six assists in a victory over China.

Team Ohio collected a pair of wins in the tournament and Harler finished strong in his final three games with 28 points and seven rebounds against Lithuania, 21 points against China and finished the trip with seven in the finale with Bosnia.

“The competition was great,” Harler said. “There was a 24-second shot clock, so we had to get the ball up quick but that allowed us to play with a lot of freedom.

“I feel like I struggled with my confidence lately but to just get away for a week or two, it reminds me that I can still do these things.”

Lithuania took home the trophy for winning the tournament but for Harler, just getting to play in front of professional coaches and players and getting his name out there was a triumph in itself.

“Lithuania had players ages 23-24 and up and they were professionals,” Harler said. “I think it was a good experience getting this exposure in front of national coaches who coach professionally around Europe. Hopefully they continue to follow me.”

With guards Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles leaving for the NBA, there could be a window of opportunity for Harler to continue to open eyes for Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers this season.

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