EAST LANSING — After weeks of speculation, Michigan State star freshman Gary Harris announced on Thursday that he will return to Michigan State for the 2013-2014 season.
“I’m looking forward to my sophomore season with my Spartan brothers,” Harris said. “When the season was done, Coach Izzo gathered a lot of great information and shared it with me and my family. After talking things over with my parents, it is my decision to remain at Michigan State.”
Harris was a projected lottery pick by ESPN’s Chad Ford, and while he still has dreams to one day play in the NBA, he still has some unfinished business at the collegiate level.
MSU freshman Gary Harris (AP PHOTO)
“Playing in the NBA is definitely a goal of mine, and something that I’ve always dreamed of, but those dreams can wait for another day,” Harris said. “I think additional experience and maturity will be huge in my development as a player. I have other dreams of things I want to accomplish, both as a player and as a team at Michigan State. I love college life, and I’m no hurry to move on.”
In his freshman season, Harris became the first Spartan to ever be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and in addition to that, he was also voted Team MVP by his teammates, becoming the first Spartan freshman to capture that honor as well.
Harris led all Big Ten freshmen in scoring with 13.7 ppg, 3-point field-goal percentage (.472), steals (1.6 spg), and 3-point field-goals made (2.3 pg). However, with all of his statistical accomplishments in his first-season with the Spartans, Harris suffered a shoulder injury that bothered him for a large portion of the season, which could have affected his decision to return.
“My teammates and I are already excited thinking about next season,” Harris said. “I’ve been doing a lot of rehab on my shoulder and it feels stronger already. Last year was a good season for my teammates and me, but we can all improve this summer, and come back for even greater things next year.”
With Harris showing glimpses throughout the season of how good he can actually be, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is excited about the future Harris has in East Lansing.
“Gary had a phenomenal freshman season, but his future is even brighter,” Izzo said. “After gathering many different opinions, it was determined that he would not need surgery on his shoulder. He’s been committed to his rehab and all indications are that he’s making great progress. There’s no question that a healthy Gary Harris is one of the premier guards in the country.
“After the season, I told Gary that I owed it to him and his family to gather the best information available regarding his potential NBA draft prospects. In the process, I spoke with many different general managers and teams, and presented that information to the family. I know Gary has dreams of someday playing in the NBA, but he handled the entire process with great maturity, and ultimately decided to remain at Michigan State. I have no doubt that Gary would have been a high pick had he entered the draft, but I’m excited to have the opportunity to coach him next year.”