Corona del Mar junior Jackson Harlan is a water polo and basketball standout at Corona del Mar. (Photo by Michael Huntley)
Basketball players often are also volleyball players. The two sports have much in common.
Basketball players sometimes are also football players, sometimes also baseball players. Rarely is a basketball player adept at aquatics.
Jackson Harlan is an excellent basketball player at Corona del Mar. He also is an All-Orange County water polo player for the Sea Kings.
Corona del Mar’s Jackson Harlan, left, grabs a rebound from Newport Harbor’s Riggs Guy, right, during the game between Newport Harbor vs. Corona del Mar in a nonleague boys basketball game at Corona del Mar High School on Saturday Jan. 20, 2024. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)
Harlan, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound junior, is averaging 13 points and seven rebounds a game for Corona del Mar. He has been at his best in Sunset Conference play, scoring 18 points with nine rebounds a game. The Sea Kings came into this week, the final week of the regular season, 21-5 overall and 4-0 in the four-team Wave League.
Tryouts for a high school basketball team are antiquated events these days. Just about every coach knows just about every incoming freshman. Harlan tried out for the Corona del Mar team his freshman year.
“This 6-4 blond kid comes right out of the pool and into our gym and he’s dunking on people,” said Corona del Mar boys basketball coach Jason Simco. “And I’m going, ‘Whoa, who is this?’”
Harlan said basketball always was his chief sport. His mother played water polo, so he got into that sport, too. Harlan has played on USA Water Polo age-group teams, including a team that competed in Hungary this past summer.
Basketball and water polo can complement each other, Harlan said.
“You have to have strong legs in water polo,” said Harlan, an attacker for the Sea Kings water polo team. “That helps in basketball for jumping and moving around. Basketball helps with water polo in how it helps you see plays happen.”
During basketball season Harlan still works out with the Corona del Mar water polo team each week at one or two of its 6 a.m. practices. He will play water polo in college. UC Santa Barbara and UCLA are among the schools giving him recruiting attention.
For now, though, basketball is his sport.
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