When Tyler Harvey was a prep basketball player at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, Calif., he didn’t get much love from college coaches.
And by that, we mean he didn’t receive a single scholarship offer.
“No, really got no letters coming out of high school,” Harvey said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I was hoping to walk on somewhere, maybe. A lot of guys get a lot of looks from AAU, and since I wasn’t one of them, I knew I had to work that much harder and hopefully get an opportunity to play somewhere.”
Harvey got an opportunity to play at Whitworth, a Division III school in Spokane, under Jim Hayford.
“Thank God coach gave me that opportunity to play with him at Whitworth,” Harvey said. “Then he got the job at Eastern Washington, and he decided to bring me on as a walk-on. So I was just fortunate to get that opportunity to play for him.”
And Hayford has been fortunate to coach him. Harvey, a sophomore guard, led the nation in scoring this season with 22.9 points per game. He shot 47 percent from the floor, 42.8 percent from three-point range and 85 percent from the foul line.
“I just go out there and have a good time,” Harvey said. “It’s just a lot of hard work, just staying in the gym, just perfecting your shot. At this level, you’re going to get guys’ best (effort) every night. You got to make shots.”
Harvey has – and he’s the No. 1 reason why Eastern Washington (26-8, 14-4) won the Big Sky Championship. The Eagles, seeded 13th, face No. 4 Georgetown (21-10, 12-6) in South Regional action Thursday at 9:57 p.m. ET.
Hayford has guaranteed an Eagles win.
“Coach has a lot of confidence in us,” Harvey said. “But we know at the end of the day, it’s a game and we got to go out there and play. But we definitely don’t back down from anybody. They’re a great team. It should be fun to go battle with them.”
The Eagles are 13-3 in their last 16 games, with the three losses coming by a combined seven points. They averaged 80.8 points per game this season – third in the country – and finished in the top 20 in offensive field-goal percentage.
It should make for an interesting match-up with the Hoyas.
“They’re a very big team,” Harvey said. “They outsize us at pretty much every position. They’re pretty physical, but our styles are pretty different. They like to slow it down and run the offense, and we like to go and push and attack. It’s going to be a clash of the styles, but it should be a fun game to watch.”
Harvey said he would like to play basketball after college, wherever that may be, but that his main focus at the moment is Georgetown.
“I’m just taking it all in right now,” he said. “I don’t know where I’d be without (Coach Hayford) giving me (a) chance.”