April 18, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State freshman Gary Harris announced his decision to remain in school for his sophomore season on Thursday.
A 6-foot-4 guard from Fishers, Ind., Harris became the first Spartan to ever be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He ranked second on the team in scoring at 12.9 ppg, while pacing the squad in 3-pointers made (65) and attempted (158). A Second-Team All-Big Ten selection, Harris also was voted Team MVP by his teammates, becoming the first Spartan freshman to capture that honor. He also excelled defensively, ranking third on the team with 45 steals, and sharing MSU's Best Defensive Player Award with Keith Appling. Nationally, he was one of eight finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award.
In conference games, Harris led all Big Ten freshmen in scoring (13.7 ppg), 3-point field-goal percentage (.472), steals (1.6 spg), and 3-point field-goals made (2.3 pg). His 12.9 scoring average was the third-highest ever for a Spartan freshman, ranking only behind Earvin Johnson (17.0 ppg) and Shawn Respert (15.8 ppg). His 158 3-point attempts were a Spartan freshman record, while the 65 made 3-pointers ranked second. He also ranked among the best Spartan freshmen in points (3rd, 439), field goals (3rd, 150), field-goal attempts (3rd, 329), 3-point field-goal percentage (5th, .411), free throws (5th, 74), steals (2nd, 45) and minutes played (t-2nd, 1010).
Quote from Gary Harris
"I'm looking forward to my sophomore season with my Spartan brothers. 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.
"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. 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."
Quote from Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo
"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.
"Gary had a phenomenal freshman season, but his future is even brighter. 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.
"I'd like to commend Gary and his family for the way they handled this process. It can be a stressful time dealing with outside pressures and imperfect information, but they handled it with great poise. It's exciting to see a player embrace the college experience like Gary has. So often, society pressures kids to grow up and move on quickly. It's refreshing to watch Gary follow his heart and enjoy his time in college, without being in a rush to move on."