Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 11/12/13
Three games into his freshman season, Michigan State freshman shooting guard Gary Harris suffered a shoulder injury that lingered throughout the year and hampered his performance.  He still had a very productive season, finishing second on the Spartans in scoring and winning the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award. A year removed from that injury and back to 100%, Harris is ready for a breakout sophomore campaign and is a huge reason why Sparty is a Final Four contender. “Compared to last year, I feel great,” Harris admitted at Big Ten Media Day.  Because of that injury, Harris was limited with his athleticism, ability to attack the tin, and explosiveness.  As a result, he had to become more of an outside shooter and developed into MSU’s most consistent threat from the perimeter as he connected on 41% of his triple tries. “This year, you’ll see more of my all-around game,” Harris stated.  “I was just pegged as a shooter last year which is the first time in my life I was pegged as a shooter.  I think that’s pretty funny because in high school I was just recognized as a slasher.  Three-point shooting was really my weakness.” Some weakness, huh? Harris looked at full strength in Sparty’s season opener going for 20 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists.  He was named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year and is an All-American candidate as well. “It’s just hype.  That’s all it is.  At the end of the day, you still got to play the game that everyone else is.  Nothing’s going to be given to you.  You can’t just be expecting for it to fall right into your lap.  You’ve got to go out there and work even harder.” What’s also motivating Harris to work even harder is hit future NBA Draft status.  Despite being slowed down a bit last season, Harris could have left East Lansing and still been a lottery selection in a very weak 2013 NBA Draft.  “I wasn’t satisfied with the year I had and I felt I could have done so much more,” Harris stated.  “It was up to me to have another summer to get healthy, get better, and get ready for the next level.” “He came back to try to accomplish more,” head coach Tom Izzo said.  “He stayed up there all summer, didn’t go to the USA stuff or this or that. He just wanted to rehab, get healthy, and get better.” Talk of his NBA Draft future will not slow down as the season progresses since he figures to be a lottery lock in a top heavy 2014 class.  With Michigan State’s expected success and spot in the national spotlight, Harris’ stock should continue to rise.  The sophomore will do his best to block those thoughts and focus on the present. “Regardless of how much you try, you’re going to hear it.  You just can’t let it go to your head.” Izzo doesn’t expect that to be an issue.  “There’s a couple of unique things about Gary Harris which could make him one of the best guards I’ve ever coached. And one is his mental approach to things. He’s a very humble kid, and he’s low maintenance. That’s odd this day and age.” David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.) You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik. The post Finally healthy, Michigan State’s Gary Harris poised for breakout year appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
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