His journey hasn’t been the most straightforward, but Long Island’s Tyler Harris is days away from possibly following in the footsteps of his older brother.
Harris, 22, the brother of Pistons forward Tobias Harris, played for three colleges over four seasons and six years and has gone through a whirlwind of travel and workouts to get in front of NBA teams in preparation for Thursday’s draft at the Barclays Center. He’s practiced for eight teams so far and has one more workout scheduled with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, he said.
“My path might be different, but I’m going to get there,” Harris said, compared with his brother Tobias, who played one season at Tennessee. “We just have different paths, different routes, but we’re going to get up in the same place.”
When Harris isn’t meeting with teams, he’s getting feedback and practicing with Tobias, who has been a helpful guide through the process.
“We talk after the workout, I give him details about how the workout goes and he tells me things to improve on,” Harris said.
Having a sibling who’s been in the same situation before certainly helps, but Harris is careful not to put too much focus on his brother. After all, he’s the one who has to do the work.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to me and what I’ve got to do and where I put my mindset to,” Harris said. “Tobias is a great help, but he can’t go out there and play for me. I’ve got to go out there and do it myself.”
The former Half Hollow Hills West and Long Island Lutheran standout played in college for North Carolina State, Providence and Auburn. He averaged 13.9 points and 7.7 rebounds during his final season, earned a master’s degree in adult education and gained what he said is a better understanding of the game.
“I was really able to just mature as a person and as a player throughout the years,” Harris said. “You go out and play for these different teams, you really have to sit down and figure out how to adjust and be a leader for each team.”
Harris isn’t projected on most draft boards but could be taken during the second round. If he goes undrafted, his father, Torrel Harris, said he has hopes of playing in the NBA summer league and evaluating from there.
Either way, he said he plans on using his basketball experience one way or another.
“I want to stick around the game,” Tyler said. “I’ve been learning to be a teacher and with my basketball IQ I feel like I can give my knowledge of what I know to younger guys.”