Tuesday night, Summitt was shown on ESPN SportsCenter hitting a 3-pointer in 13th-ranked Tennessee's 86-56 win over Middle Tennessee State.
"It's a great story,'' Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl said. "That's what we're here for as educators at a university, to give deserving young people opportunities.
"Tyler has made it clear he wants to pursue a job in the coaching profession, and this opportunity can better prepare him for that.''
Summitt is a redshirt freshman walk-on with the Vols, having used his first year of eligibility to be a practice player on Pat Summitt's women's basketball team.
His role with the UT men's basketball team is largely the same as it was for the women's squad; to work on the scout team and help the team improve.
Summitt doesn't have the size nor athleticism to compete at the Division I level, but he has the smarts and work ethic to be effective in his role.
So much so that on two occasions, Pearl rewarded Summitt with a couple of minutes of playing time in decisive wins, much to the delight of the UT student section, which chanted his name near the end of the blowouts.
"Before I've even gotten on the court, I've heard them yelling for me to shoot the ball,'' Summitt said. "My mother has always told me to have confidence and let it fly, so . . . ''
So Summitt has taken two 3-pointers this season, the first in an exhibition win against Brevard, and again Tuesday night against MTSU. To the surprise of many, he made both shots.
Fact is, few can recall Summitt making any other 3-point shots in collegiate level competition, not in the Pilot Rocky Top League last summer, and not in the Vols' intra-squad scrimmages this fall.
"I know,'' Summitt said with a smile after the win over MTSU. "I can't explain it. It must have something to do with the name on the court.''
The Vols' and Lady Vols' home court is named "The Summitt,'' a tribute to his mother, Pat, an eight-time national-championship coaching legend at UT.
Tyler Summitt takes nothing for granted, and since junior high school he has paid the price for his famous last name, enduring ribbing and backlash from students around him.
"I remember the first three games I played at Webb (in high school),'' he said. "Everyone was chanting, 'Mama's boy, Mama's boy.' People have always said I don't deserve to be out there.''
Perhaps that's why Steven Pearl, one person on the UT campus who can understand the challenges of being a coach's son, has seen fit to set up Summitt for the threes.
"The best part of this for me is just being on the team with heavily recruited guys like Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris,'' Summitt said. "I don't care if I play another minute. I just want to give my all in practice and be a part of the team.''
Summitt knows his place. He speaks only when spoken to on the practice floor, he's constantly among the leaders in the full-court conditioning sprints, and he's quick to pick up on opposing teams' plays while running with the scout team.
The difference between his mother's practices and Pearl's?
"I don't know if I've ever been around two more intense people,'' Summitt said. "They both know exactly what they're doing and how they want it done.
"My mom's favorite saying is that, 'Guys have to play good to feel well, and women have to feel well to play good.' "
Summitt said Pearl's offense has a little more freedom and 1-on-1 principles, while the Lady Vols know if they run the plays exactly as his mother instructs, they will score. Both defenses are intense.
Does he think his mother could coach a Division I men's team effectively?
"My teammates see her and say she's scary,'' Summitt said. "It would be an adjustment for her, but one thing about Mom, she would go all out and find a way. She found a way to make the Olympic team as a player, and she's found a way to reach her goals as a coach.''
Pat Summitt has taught her son to do the same from the time he was cut back in sixth grade.
"I remember I was crying when I came home after that, and Mom walked into the room with two basketballs, one under each arm,'' he said. "She said 'if you wear these basketballs out, you will make the team.'
"Every year she would make me write down my goals, and at the bottom of every list, I always wrote I wanted to be a Tennessee walk-on. It's always been my dream.''
A dream that was on display for all to see during ESPN's highlights.
The crowd roared when Summitt hit his 3-pointer Tuesday, as it gave the Vols 86 points, qualifying all in attendance for a free chicken meal at Hardee's as part of a promotion.
"At first I thought they were cheering for me,'' Summitt joked. "Then I realized they just wanted the free chicken.''
"The thing that makes this a success story,'' Bruce Pearl said, "is that Tyler has earned his teammates' respect. They were as happy for him as anyone in that gym.''