Memphis Tiger fans everywhere rejoiced Monday when the news broke that a familiar face was coming back to the 901. Tyler Harris, who spent his first two years with the University of Memphis before transferring to Iowa State last season, announced through his social media that he will be returning home for his senior year.
In his lone season with the Cyclones, Harris averaged 7.5 points in roughly twenty-three minutes per contest. Despite their last-place finish as a team in the loaded Big12 conference, Harris was a stalwart in the rotation and even recorded his season-high 22 points in a 77-72 loss to the eventual national champion, Baylor.
Known for both his high-flying dunks and seemingly limitless three-point range, Harris was a fan-favorite during his first stint with the program and his return has Tiger fans excited to see him back in the blue and grey. Based off the flood of positive tweets and Instagram posts reacting to the news, it seems evident that Tigers fans were eager to welcome Harris back with open arms. His shot-making ability will certainly provide a shot in the arm for an offense that could have used it in 2020.
A native of Memphis, Harris previously starred at Cordova High School and will now join a strong nucleus of local Memphis players that decided to stay home, including Alex Lomax and the recently added Chandler and Johnathon Lawson. While many wondered what Penny Hardaway’s plan would be to remake his roster after losing several key players to the transfer portal, the additions he has made thus far prove one thing: this is the city’s team, made up of some of the best talent to come through the city in recent years.
Memphis, both as a city and as a basketball program, has always had a chip on its shoulder. A town with an underdog spirit that creates a type of “us against the world” mentality is shared by the residents here and no one embodies those ideals better than Harris. While he may be the smallest player on the floor more times than not, he has consistently proven his competitive fire and he will surely be greeted with plenty of cheers whenever fans are allowed back inside FedExForum.
Harris has been a part of some truly iconic moments in Memphis program history. Whether it be the now infamous photo of him dunking at a fully packed Memphis Madness two years ago or when he and Lomax walked off the court popping their jerseys up in Knoxville after defeating the Volunteers on their home floor, Harris truly played an integral part in the revitalization of Memphis Tiger basketball. With his return, one of the more fun players to root for is back where he belongs. Hopefully, he brings back his signature nose-wipe celebration with him too.
It was a sad day for Memphis when Tyler Harris announced he was leaving for Iowa State. All season long, fans never fully stopped clamoring for one of their favorites to come back. Now, he has. Welcome home, Tyler.