The 6-8, 226-pounder was a McDonald's All-American and Scout.com's No. 1 ranked power forward prospect as a high school senior in Dix Hills, N.Y. He averaged 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds as a Vol freshman. He started 33 of 34 games, being denied one start because he missed a practice after being snowed in during the Christmas holidays.
Tennessee went just 19-15 in 2010-11 and ended with a humiliating 75-45 loss to Michigan in Round 1 of the NCAA Tournament. When head coach Bruce Pearl was fired three days later, Harris' days with the Vols appeared numbered. Still, he reportedly bonded well with new head man Cuonzo Martin and participated in offseason workouts with his Vol teammates.
Once Harris learned he was projected as a top-20 NBA Draft pick, however, it was a foregone conclusion that he would choose the pros over another year of college ball. Some analysts project him as a lottery (top-14) selection.
Martin released the following statement regarding Harris' impending departure:
"First of all, Tobias is a wonderful young man. He had a great freshman season, but more importantly he also conducts himself in all the right ways off the court. There's no doubt he'll be successful.
"I wish him well. I absolutely loved working with him over the past several weeks.
"He'll always be a Tennessee Volunteer, and just like every other former player, we're always here for him. He's part of the family."
The Vols also are expected to be saying goodbye to 6-7 guard Scotty Hopson, a rising senior from Hopkinsville, Ky. Another former McDonald's All-American, he also has declared for the NBA Draft. Although he does not project to be a first-round draft pick and has until Sunday night to withdraw from the draft pool, Hopson appears a real longshot to return for the 2011-12 college season.
Hopson averaged a team-high 17.0 points per game last season, shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 37.6 percent from 3. He struggled mightily with his ball-handling, however, recording 89 turnovers compared to 41 assists.