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Badger legend Devin Harris graduates 20 years later with mentor Michael Finley by his side

By Braden Ross

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    MADISON, Wis. (WISC) — MADISON, Wis. — Former Badger basketball legend and NBA star Devin Harris graduated with a degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the Kohl Center on Sunday, 20 years after he left in his third year for the NBA draft.

“I’ve already kind of teared up a little bit just being back in this building,” Harris said. “I had a lot of success and a lot of games played and a lot of family members in the stands.”

Two decades after going to the Dallas Mavericks as the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft and four years after retiring from the NBA, Harris says it was important to him to finish the degree he started at UW.

“The goal was always to finish at some point,” he said. “Now, I didn’t expect it to be 20 years, but that’s what it kind of turned out to be.”

He credits the motivation partially to his former teammate, mentor and friend, another Badger icon Michael Finley.

“Watching him go through the process of going back to school kind of set the table for me,” Harris said.

Finley played for the Dallas Mavericks when Harris joined the team in 2004 and quickly bonded over their time at UW.

“I had watched Devin in college, being a Wisconsin fan, so when we were able to draft him and to have him as a teammate I was, I thought we got the best guy in the draft,” Finley said.

So when the stars aligned for Finley to be the commencement speaker on Harris’ graduation day, it just felt right.

“To see where he developed as a basketball player when I was a teammate, and then as a man,” Finley said. “To be part of that process, I’m just just a very proud friend today.”

“It was a great surprise,” Harris added. “It’s a great full circle moment. It’s been connected this whole time and I think it’s only fitting that we end the journey, you know, in that way.”

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Jaymes Langrehr

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