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Monday, February 6, 2023

Men's Basketball

‘It went by so fast’: Houston’s matchup against Memphis marks the final home game for Chris Harris Jr.

Chris Harris Jr. (1) leads the Cougars with two blocks per game in the 2019-20 season. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

Chris Harris Jr. (1) leads the Cougars with two blocks per game in the 2019-20 season. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

The Cougars end the regular season at home when they host the Memphis Tigers on Sunday morning, and it will also be the final time that senior center Chris Harris Jr. gets to play at Fertitta Center.

“It went by so fast,” Harris said. “It’s been a blur.”

The 6-foot-10 big man first joined the Cougars in the 2017-18 season as a sophomore after making his collegiate career debut with San Jacinto in 2016-17, and he said the program has helped him grow both as a basketball player and a person.

“I’m more mature,” Harris said. “I just look at things differently. (For example) like the importance of winning each game.”

The Houston native has made plenty of memories in his time with the Cougars, but the one that stands out above all of them is from last season when UH clinched the out-right American Athletic Conference regular-season championship.

“Winning the conference and cutting down the nets in this gym last year and also going deep in the tournament that was a great memory I will never forget,” Harris said.

Besides his impact on the floor for Houston, Harris leaves his mark with his younger teammates.

“Memories of me and Chris, hmm,” Hinton said with a smirk, who opted not to go into a specific one. “Just overall his personality … every day he comes in. His locker is right beside mine. In the summertime when we (would go) into workouts, he’d be right there tired and everything.”

Harris the “gentle giant” as head coach Kelvin Sampson once described him earlier in the season, is not one who is going to be outspoken, which is why it is no surprise that the best pointer he has given to Hinton was short and simple.

“The best advice is that we are going to be good,” Hinton said.

Once the season ends and Harris graduates from UH, he will definitely leave a void on both the roster and the hearts of his teammates.

“He’s just a great player and a great person,” Hinton said. “We are going to miss him. He’s a fun person to be around.”

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