Gary Harris Spotlight

Story posted January 16, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Joe Garofalo

Coming out of Hamilton Southeastern High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, Gary Harris was rated as a five-star recruit by many. As the number eleven overall prospect in the county according to ESPN.com, Harris was a highly recruited shooting guard who chose to attend Michigan State over many other top programs.

Picking the Spartans over Indiana, Purdue, Kentucky and Louisville, Harris headlined a top ten ranked recruiting class for Coach Tom Izzo in 2012. The 6’5” 200 pound guard possesses incredible strength, which allows him to drive to the basket with ease. On defense he uses his strength to his advantage and is excellent at keeping his opponent out of the lane. In his senior year of high school basketball Harris averaged an impressive 25.4 points per game.

After a strong regular season in 2012, the Michigan State Spartans entered the NCAA tournament as the number one seed in the West region. Despite the seeding, their journey ended much sooner than many expected with a loss in the Sweet Sixteen to Louisville 57-44.

Finishing the season with a final record of 29-8, the Spartans were left with some major holes to fill come the 2012-13 season. Draymond Green, the team’s leading scoring and rebounder, was lost to graduation along with fellow senior Brandon Wood. Losing two of their top three scorers meant the Spartans had some big shoes to fill. It also meant that junior point guard Keith Appling couldn’t do it by himself, which is where the top prospect Harris comes into play.

Averaging just under 13 points per game, Harris has come in this season and played significant minutes. The true freshman is second on the team, to Keith Appling, in minutes per game with 27.9. But what is even more impressive about this true freshman is that aside from an off game versus Nebraska, he so far has played very well in conference play. In his first three conference games he shot 50% with 16 points per game, including a season high 22 points at home versus Purdue on January 5th.

On Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center at 7 p.m. the 18th ranked Michigan State Spartans (14-3, 3-1 Big Ten) will travel to Happy Valley to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions (8-8, 0-4 Big Ten) who are still looking for their first conference win. If Penn State is to beat the more-talented Spartans team, they will have shut down the dominant backcourt of junior Keith Appling and true freshman Gary Harris who have lead a very inconsistent Michigan State team so far this season.

Joe Garofalo is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, e-mail joepgarofalo@gmail.com.