With the NBA draft quickly approaching and college superstars throwing their hats into the big money ring, the focus on incoming recruiting classes has become a hot topic. Perennial Midwest powerhouse Michigan State has gotten its fair share of buzz about one incoming freshman in particular, Gary Harris.
(This is a collaboration between Ngozi Ekeledo and Paul M. Banks)
The 6’4 star beat out good friend and future Indiana University basketball player Yogi Ferrell for Indiana’s Mr. Basketball, but he’s more excited for the opportunities in East Lansing and the school’s proximity to his hometown state.
“It’s hard to say no to that, and for me to go somewhere three and a half hours away from home, it’s something I’m looking for,” Harris said at the McDonald’s All-America Game.
One specific draw for Harris and his decision to become a Spartan was the man at the top–Tom Izzo. While Izzo is known as a hard-nosed no nonsense coach, Harris is ready for the chance to prove himself to the legendary coach.
“Tom Izzo, he’s a great guy [and] a great coach at making everybody better,” Harris said.
“The emotion he has for the game, and how he cares for his players– from the best player down to the worst player–he cares for all of them the same.”
Harris is prepared to come in and play a necessary role, and his admiration for a certain MSU player who peaked last season has him setting the bar high.
“A good role model is Draymond Green, definitely with the leadership he’s had while he was there [and] what he’s done for the program,” Harris said.
The level of excellence expected next season could match this year, but the Spartans definitely exceeded everyone’s projected path for them. Earning a tournament number one seed and making the Sweet Sixteen were goals that weren’t present at the beginning of the year, and Harris said Izzo and Green were, as always, the catalysts for the success. The shooting guard was also impressed with the “way Izzo pushed [the team]” last season and “the way Draymond got everybody focused, mentally prepared and ready for the game[s].”
While getting to the basket is the star recruit’s biggest strength, he’s not satisfied. Getting ready for the game, and bringing his best game will be crucial, but Harris said he’s making tweaks in all aspects of his game in time for when he steps foot in the Breslin Center.