COLUMBIA — The Harris siblings all have one thing in common.
Well, it’s two things, really. Aside from their first names, which all begin with the letter ‘L,’ Lance, Lauren, Logan and Lyle all love to play basketball.
Hickman (16-7) vs. Ruskin (9-10)
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Hickman High School
“I’ve been playing since I was knee high,” Lyle Harris said. “It’s because of my older siblings, seeing them playing it.”
Lyle Harris began playing competitively in the third grade, but by the fifth grade, he was playing football as well.
His time on the gridiron only lasted a year.
“I didn’t have the same passion to get better at the other sports that I played,” Lyle Harris said. “I wanted to focus all on basketball.”
The summer before his freshman year, the decision paid off. Lyle Harris was invited to play at the prestigious Adidas Jr. Phenom Camp in San Diego. Only 150 of the top freshman and sophomores in the country are invited, including the nation's No. 1 basketball recruit Brandon Knight, according to Rivals.com.
Once at high school, Lyle Harris, like his siblings, developed into a great basketball player. He made the varsity team his freshman year, and now in his senior year at Hickman, he is averaging 19.1 points, 3.5 assists and 2 steals per game. He will play in his final home game Tuesday.
“In terms of potential at the college level, he’s probably the best I’ve coached as far as a point guard,” Hickman coach John Burns said.
But for Lyle Harris it is his siblings’ love for the game that ignited his own passion for basketball.
“They’re going out and doing things,” Lyle Harris said. “They used it to get a college education, and it inspired me.”
“My goal is to get to a Division I college eventually, maybe not immediately. I just want to continue to play basketball and get a college education.”
Lyle Harris has talked to some coaches over the phone, answered emails and responded to questionnaires mainly from small schools. He wants to follow his dream, maybe play in the NBA or overseas one day, but even Lyle Harris will admit dreams are not always attainable.
If basketball doesn't pan out, he can see himself managing a small business like his parents, who run a barbershop called "A Cut Above the Rest" on Providence Road.
“Sometimes you have to settle for less,” Lyle Harris said. “If I even have to go to a smaller school to play, I will do that.”
A determined worker on and off the court, Lyle Harris does everything he can to improve, Burns said. He often practices before school, after school and even on a slow night with nothing else to do, he is at home watching the tapes from every game this season.
At the next level, Burns believes Lyle Harris can continue to make an impact. Despite the increased strength, speed and size of players, he has no doubt that Lyle Harris will make the necessary transition.
“He listens to his coaches, he works so he gets better and he gets better every day,” Burns said. “I’m not sure if there is a ceiling for him right now.”