Two Michigan State players to sit out during Italy trip

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Eron Harris and Alvin Ellis won’t be playing when Michigan State makes their trip to Italy later this month thanks to offseason run-ins with the law.

Harris was charged with reckless driving after being pulled over for OWI in July. Ellis was twice cited with possession of alcohol by a minor.

This is an issue for the Spartans, as Harris, who averaged 17 points as a sophomore at West Virginia, is expected to play a major role for Tom Izzo’s ball-club this season. One of the major benefits of making a 12-day, four-game trip through Italy is to get Harris incorporated into the offense, to figure out how he’ll operate alongside Denzel Valentine and ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn on the perimeter, a full month and a half before practices actually start.

Taking these foreign trips are great team bonding, but for a coach, they can also be a once-every-four-years cheat sheet, a way to get ahead of the curve when it comes practice and putting in different offenses and defenses. Losing Harris, who could end up being the leading scorer for Sparty this season, negates much of that.