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'It's going to be different' | Penny Hardaway on Tyler Harris' transfer from Memphis ahead of AAC opener vs South Florida

Harris said in April the decision to transfer was not his.
Credit: AP
South Florida guard Tyler Harris (2) dribbles the ball as Auburn guard Tre Donaldson (3) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis men's basketball opens conference play Thursday night hosting South Florida, and former Tiger Tyler Harris.

"It's going to be different," Hardaway said. "I've never coached against him in college."

Harris' relationship with the Tigers is a complicated one. After spending his first two college seasons at Memphis, he transferred to Iowa State for the 2020-21 campaign, only to return to the U of M as a walk-on last year. Harris entered the transfer portal again in April, announcing the move was not his choice.

"In life there are several choices and decisions you have to make. This one was not mine," he tweeted in April. "But many doors close for a reason."

Chandler Lawson told reporters Wednesday that he was not surprised by Harris' departure.

"Coach, he said it wasn't going to be the same team as last year because a lot of confusion and chaos was going on," the senior forward said. "I didn't know [Harris] was going to be one of them, but I knew a lot of people were going to be gone."

Penny Hardaway confirmed that Harris wanted to remain a Memphis Tiger.

"Tyler is a prideful guy, he is a really good player. He wanted to be here," Hardaway said. "My whole mindset for me, was to get the program in a position where I was very comfortable mentally. And that wasn't a knock on anybody. I think everyone is doing well. Tyler is doing well at South Florida. Landers [Nolley] is doing well at Cincinnati. Lester [Quinones] didn't come back but is trying to do well in the G-League. And Emoni [Bates] is doing well at Eastern Michigan. So those guys are doing well. Like I said, I'm still a fan. Just, to me, that's how it happened."

Harris leads the Bulls in scoring (15.5 PPG) while shooting 37.1% from three-point range, a glaring area of need for Memphis. The Tigers are shooting just 31.6% as a team this season, which ranks ninth in the American Athletic Conference. 

Hardaway said the Tigers plan to put multiple defenders on Harris.

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