Lyle Harris Makes Homecoming
COLUMBIA -- The Hickman Kewpies' boys basketball team hasn't had as good a squad as the one star point guard Lyle Harris left behind when he graduated in 2010.
Nor has it seen as memorable a shot as the one Harris hit to send the Kewpies to that year's district championship - known on YouTube as "Lyle Harris: 4.1 Seconds To Glory."
"I hit a game-winner," Harris said. "And all my teammates believed in me. I've still got it on YouTube, I'll watch it every now and then. It was just... that was like, the peak of my career, like 'Lyle Harris is back.'"
Strangely enough, at the peak of his career, Harris bolted from Columbia to TAAG Academy in Florida, before ultimately joining Northwest Missouri State. He redshirted his first year, making this season his first as an eligible player.
It's only fitting that his first game as a Bearcat was scheduled down the street from his old stomping grounds. Harris was playing the Missouri Tigers.
"It's been two years since I've been back playing ball here," Harris said. "I took off on a journey and I decided to come close to home for school after I went so far."
Harris has since traded his Hickman purple for Northwestern MO State Bearcat green. As a redshirt freshman in a game against a ranked Division 1 team, he found amidst his homecoming, something else was missing: Playing time.
"I was antsy because it was a big thing to be back here. So I was really ready to get into the game."
The clock ticked away in the second half and Harris had yet to see the floor. Then, with three minutes to go, Harris finally checked in for his first minutes as a Bearcat, against the team he grew up watching. He scored his first two points (his only points of the game) as a collegiate athlete on a goaltending call, something Harris said he'll take regardless.
"It feels good to be on the board and have a stat. It feels real good."
After the game, Harris met with what he figured to be fourteen friends and family before sharing a handshake and a quick conversation with an opposing fan: Missouri forward Laurence Bowers.
"I used to watch him in high school and his dad used to cut my hair, so I kind of knew him from when I first got here," Bowers said. "I wish him well, you know. He's a local kid."
More than two years after he left, Harris once again got to play the game he loves.