Cordova's Tyler Harris signs with Penny Hardaway at Memphis
Tyler Harris made the amazing look routine throughout his high school career at Cordova.
He hit 11 3-pointers in a 48-point game against Arlington in his junior year, set the Lighthouse Classic record with 14 assists in a game, and this year torched Craigmont for 54 despite the fact that it was Cordova's second game of the day.
But what Harris did Friday may have been the most electrifying of all as he became the second top local prospect in the Class of 2019 to sign with the University of Memphis and new coach Penny Hardaway. The Class AAA Mr. Basketball winner chose the Tigers over Baylor, the only two schools he's been considering over the last month.
"I actually decided about 40 minutes ago," said Harris moments after his announcement drew loud cheers from those in attendance at Cordova. "I came to school and I didn't know where I wanted to go. I was still thinking about it. But I got down to the coach's office and said 'this is where I want to be.'"
Harris joins Hardaway's son Jayden and two-time Mr. Basketball winner Alex Lomax of East in the Tigers' class of 2018. Lomax was in attendance Friday, along with another future teammate, Mitchell alum Jeremiah Martin. And like those two ultimately decided, the pull of the hometown school was too hard to ignore.
"It's just the fit and the people around me," he said when asked what tipped Memphis in his favor.
"I know that family and close people like my dad will be here. And I like Memphis. I love Memphis. I never really felt pressure (to stay). I was going to do what I wanted to do. It's me going to college, not everybody else."
Cordova coach Terrance Scales — who presented his star with a framed retired jersey No. 1 as part of the ceremonies — said he admired the way Harris stood up to the scrutiny surrounding his decision.
"It's extremely difficult when you grow up a Memphis fan your entire life," he said. "Sometimes even if other situations could possibly be better ... it's very hard to say no to the hometown team."
Harris, a consensus top 150 national recruit, will provide a reliable long-range shooting threat at Memphis. He averaged 30.3 points this year to lead the city while shooting 50 percent from the floor, 43 percent from the 3-point line and 91 percent on free throws.
His career total of 2,647 points ranks him 12th on Shelby County's all-time scoring list.
"I know he made me look like a better coach at times," said Norton Hurd, the director of Harris' summer program Team Thad. "We're like 'okay, just let Tyler shoot it.'"
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