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Tyler Harris casts a pretty big shadow, too

Hills West's Tyler Harris.

Hills West's Tyler Harris. Photo Credit: Photo by Howard Schnapp

Forget the hype. Tobias Harris can't fill his brother Tyler's shoes.

Looking down with a big smile, Tyler said: "I wear size 17 sneakers. Tobias only wears size 15."

And Tyler is still growing. At 6-7, the 16-year-old Half Hollow Hills West junior is a year younger and an inch shorter than his senior brother, but he seems to be in the midst of a growth spurt that might have him shoot past Tobias.

His game and reputation are growing, too. "Tyler has found his role on the team as being the best outside shooter, one of our better passers and also, he's been our best help defender," Hills West coach Bill Mitaritonna said. "To me, as a defensive coach, that's the most important thing. That shows a lot about his basketball IQ."

His Q rating is rising, too. Harris, a sweet-shooting lefthander, already has attracted interest from some Division I schools, including Hofstra. But he's hoping that he'll have a breakout junior season and be in much more demand as a senior.

"This is the year when it's time for me to show the [college] coaches what I really can do," said Harris, a reserve on last year's Federation champion Lutheran team who joined his brother in transferring to Hills West. "I'm looking forward to it. I don't know what schools will be interested, but I'll look at them and see which one I like."

Recruiters surely will like his retooled shooting touch. "I used to not extend my elbow all the way when I shot," he said. "Now I extend it and it works much better. It helps my range."

Another thing that helps is the toughness Tyler has gained from going against his brother frequently in practice. Those skirmishes often get heated. "They're brothers and they fight sometimes," Mitaritonna said. "That's what brothers do."

Tobias agreed that those duels can get a little testy. "In practice, there's a sibling rivalry. Tyler is always trying to get the best of me," Tobias said. "But in games, there's no sibling rivalry at all. We're just trying to win."

Indeed, a highlight of the Colts' blowout win over Eastport-South Manor was a beautiful behind-the-back pass from Tobias to Tyler that finished off a picture-perfect fast break.

"It's always a challenge when I play against him because I'm trying to step up to his level," Tyler said. "He's going to be one of the greatest."

But don't sleep on the brother with the big feet.


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