Sixth-grader Tatiana Harness of Morro Bay was born to ball.
At last Friday’s California Middle School Basketball Combine, which included the top 30 boys and 30 girls from the graduating classes of 2023-2027, Harness was ranked as the sixth-best prospect in the class of 2025.
She’s got handles like Kyrie Irving. She’s got a shot like Steph Curry. And, she’s got the “mamba mentality” like Kobe Bryant. She is just 11-years-old.
“I like to hear the beat of the basketball hitting the ground because it feels like home to me,” Tatiana added.
Whether she’s in a gym or at home, the basketball is always bouncing.
“After school, it’s the most exciting thing for me,” Tatiana exclaimed. “I love to practice and get better every day, 24/7.”
Tatiana’s dad, Mike, doubles as her coach for the California Storm club team which is sponsored by Nike. The two have a bond that’s rooted in basketball.
“It’s special. She’s my best friend,” Mike said. “It’s hard to watch her play in games just because it’s hard not to root for her that little extra bit.”
“I know him so well and I know what he likes me to do, so I take that into my own time,” Tatiana explained. “It helps me a lot more because he’s harder on me, and it gets me better.”
Her dribbling ability has made her into a local sensation. Tatiana’s Instagram account has almost 400 followers, and her videos, which include drills in some very unique locations, get hundreds of views.
“She goes all over San Luis Obispo County trying to find new places to dribble,” Mike said. “Jennifer [Tatiana’s mom] does a great job getting those action shots, and they amaze us every day.”
“I mastered all the different moves and everything, so I just kept dribbling and dribbling and dribbling,” Tatiana said. “I always kept posting, and I knew that many people were watching me.”
One viewer, in particular, looks up to Tatiana in more ways than one. It’s her eight-year-old sister, Olivia, who is dribbling circles around her competition as well.
“It’s really fun because we have really good moves, so when we do it with each other, it just makes it that much better,” Tatiana added.
“They’re encouraging each other to do better, to be better basketball players, and that’s all we can ask for them,” Jennifer said.
She hasn’t even completed the sixth grade yet, but already, Tatiana has her eyes set on the biggest prize.
“In the game of basketball, I want to get to the highest level which is playing in the WNBA with the Los Angeles Sparks,” Tatiana exclaimed. “Once I’m done in the WNBA, I’m going to become a sports announcer.”
Mike added, “You know, she wasn’t able to see Magic Johnson in her day, but with the way she’s dribbling the ball, we’re hoping that she can create some magic of her own.”