Ivan Harris has traveled the globe since the end of his basketball career at Ohio State.
The Springfield native, Oak Hill Academy graduate and former Ohio State star has played on five continents with stops in Finland, the NBA D-League, Argentina, Uruguay, Australia and Japan. Last season he played in Romania. Next season he has signed to play in Canada. After that, he might play in Mexico.
Harris, 29, also hasn’t forgotten his roots. He returned to Springfield in June to help out at former South High School teammate Nate Miller’s basketball camp. He keeps a close eye on his talented younger brothers, Ben and Peyton, who are already getting recruiting attention. Ben will be a freshman at Springfield this fall, and Peyton will be in seventh grade.
Harris is also keeping busy as the founder of Bucktime Tutoring in Columbus and the CEO of a new group home for boys, Returns Inc., in Columbus.
Harris credited his dad and step-mom, Mike and Rochelle Harris, of Springfield, and his mom Carla Williams, who lives in Atlanta, for instilling in him the value of an education. He earned a degree in sociology from Ohio State.
“They’ve been on me from day one,” Harris said Tuesday. “At that time, when I was young, I didn’t understand. I just wanted to go hang out with friends and do kids stuff. Now I know how important education is. I’m very blessed.”
Harris is the co-founder of Bucktime Tutoring with another former Buckeye, Chimdi Chekwa, who now plays for the Raiders. The company offers tutors from grades K-12 in Columbus and throughout Ohio and also offers recruiting mentorships with former Ohio State athletes.
Harris said they have 20 tutors right now, and his job is reaching out to schools around Ohio to spread the word about the program.
“I always wanted to do some type of tutoring program,” Harris said. “Chimdi also wanted to do something. Mark Johnson, one of my good friends, he’s the one who put everything together. We want to get out and talk to kids. They are our future. We want them to succeed in life.”
Harris’ other new job is with the group home in Columbus. It’s not open yet, but when it does open, he hopes to bring in former Ohio State teammates like Mike Conley Jr. and Greg Oden to talk to the kids. Harris was a senior starter in 2006-07 when Ohio State reached the national championship game with the freshman class that included Conley, Oden, Daequan Cook and David Lighty.
“I think this is the only group home in Columbus where the kids can stay overnight,” Harris said.
Harris said he will still have time to continue his basketball career with these new jobs and plans to play three more years.
“Then I’ll retire and focus on the group home and Bucktime Tutoring,” he said.