Gary Harris

Gary Harris is returning to Michigan State


Michigan State got some big news on Thursday afternoon as star freshman Gary Harris has announced that he will be returning to school for his sophomore season.

He would have been a first round pick had he decided to enter the draft, potentially sneaking up into the lottery. 

“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 in a statement released by the university. “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.”

“My teammates and I are already excited thinking about next season. 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.”

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

Harris averaged 12.9 points on the season and shot 47.2% from three during Big Ten play, doing so despite playing the majority of the season with a bad shoulder that forced him to miss two games. “You haven’t seen the Gary Harris I recruited yet,” head coach Tom Izzo said after Michigan State lost to Duke in the NCAA tournament. 

Perhaps the best news is that it appears that Harris won’t be requiring offseason surgery. He’s already begun rehab, and with a full summer of getting healthy and working on his game, big things are going to be expected in East Lansing next year from him.

The key question now for the Spartans is whether or not Adreian Payne will return. With Derrick Nix graduating, losing Payne would leave the Spartans with a front line that consists of a pair of seldom-used backups and freshman Gavin Schilling. Throw Payne into the mix with Keith Appling, Denzel Valentine, Branden Dawson and Travis Trice, and the Spartans look like a team that can compete for a national title.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Tom Izzo’s point is valid, but he’s wrong about the new fouling rules

Eron Harris, Tom Izzo
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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On Sunday night, after No. 3 Michigan State knocked off No. 23 Providence in the final of the Wooden Legacy, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo made sure to make his feelings known about the new college basketball officiating mandates.

He doesn’t like them.

At all.

“I just think we’re taking the flow of the game away,” Izzo said. “Maybe it’ll change. We’ll play by the same rules everybody else does. But I think I can voice my opinion to say that I don’t agree with it.”

Part of what frustrated Izzo was that, in a matchup between the two best players in college basketball, both Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn were sent to the bench with foul trouble.

“I didn’t like it either way,” Izzo said. “I didn’t like having Denzel on the bench, and I didn’t even like watching Dunn on the bench.”

“Don’t tweet this now and leave out the officials,” he added, according to “It’s not their fault. Because that’s the way they’re mandated to call them. So I am really either blaming the rules committee, which ends up on the coaches somewhat. So I’m looking in the mirror and blaming myself because I should have argued it more maybe. I just don’t think it’s fun to have these guys sitting.”

This is nothing new for Izzo. This was calculated. He basically said the same thing after Michigan State, then No. 1 in the country, beat Oklahoma in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic two seasons ago, when the rules committee tried to implement these same rules. It was his pushback that started the campaign to get rid of the freedom of movement rules.

But here’s the thing: we all knew this was going to happen. We knew there was going to be an adjustment period, for coaches and players and referees alike. In the long run, freedom of movement is good for basketball. It’s part of the reason the NBA is so much fun to watch these days, as their emphasis on the freedom of movement got us out of the days where the Detroit Pistons were winning titles without scoring 80 points.

Physicality is ingrained in college basketball. Coaches teach defense a certain way. Players play defense a certain way. The guys in the NBA are stronger, but the style of play is much more physical in the college game than the pro game. That doesn’t change overnight.

It changes when those rules are enforced and those fouls are called, and, as a result, the players and coaches learn to adjust to them.

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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