COLUMBIA — Senior Lyle Harris might be savoring his last year in Hickman's purple and gold basketball jersey a little bit more than others.
For senior high school athletes like Harris, every drill in practice and every tick of the game clock marks another step toward the inevitable end of their playing time. But when you miss an entire season, as Harris did last year because he was *ineligible , those final memories take on greater significance.
"It was tough to watch my teammates winning games without me," Harris remembered about last season. "I missed playing in front of the crowd."
In order to get his basketball career back on track, Harris, 17, turned to a familiar face for guidance. Last summer, he lived and trained in St. Louis with his brother, Lance Harris, a professional basketball player in Greece and former Kansas State player.
The two completed the older Harris' workouts that included strength training, shooting and playing pickup games.
"He wasn't too happy about it," Lyle Harris said of his brother's reaction to last season's suspension. "That's why he helped me over the summer. He just keeps my head straight."
Turns out the younger Harris didn't have much of a choice.
"He made me move in with him," Lyle Harris said. "He cares a lot."
On the court, the offseason work with his brother seems to be paying dividends for the Kewpies point guard. Lyle Harris has been Hickman's top scorer, averaging 18.3 points per game. He is thriving under new head coach John Burns and is quick to note the important role his teammates and coaches have played in his success.
"Everybody has their night," Harris said of his scoring output in Hickman's first five games. "It's the team basically. We play together as a team — it comes from that."
"I think he's starting to understand what responsibility entails," Burns said of Harris. "He understands that people are counting on him to do stuff, whether it be off the court or on the court, and when he does that he has a lot of success and feels good about himself."
"In the time I've worked with him, he's really developed as a player and a person, and he's still in that process."