by Adam Fleischer

As a crowd gathered at the ESPN Zone in the heart of New York City’s Time Square early Thursday evening, the majority in attendance were hoping for one thing: that Tobias Harris was there to announce he would be attending Syracuse. The restaurant was littered with ‘Cuse jerseys and t-shirts not only because the Orange were said to be near the top of Harris’ list, but also because the team was tipping off against Cal less than an hour after the announcement at nearby Madison Square Garden.

Much to their chagrin (as evidenced by rampant post-announcement boos) and Bruce Pearl’s delight, though, the orange dress shirt that the 6-8 Long Island product had under his suit was more of a Tennessee shade of orange than Syracuse.

Ranked 9th in our most recent rankings of the Class of 2010, Harris said that he did not make his decision until this week, and did not enlighten the Tennessee coaches until last night. There had been some recent indications that he was leaning towards the Vols, namely stemming from a visit to Knoxville to see the team play on Tuesday. However, he said that as he and his father sat in the upper deck hoping to remain anonymous (kind of hard when you’re a towering top high school player), it was the atmosphere on that night that was a big selling point. “I can talk to Coach Pearl about anything,” he added, citing another reason for the decision.

Not letting the heckling rattle him—and likely knowing he’s in store for more of that once he hits opposing SEC campuses—Harris was noticeably excited and relieved after the decision.

You’ll be able to read more about Tobias Harris in SLAM 135, so be sure to stay tuned.