EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The fact that Gary Harris was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season was impressive enough, but the fact he did it while playing nowhere near 100 percent is even more notable.
The Michigan State shooting guard battled shoulder injuries virtually the entire season, missing two games after initially suffering an injury to his right shoulder in the fourth game of the season.
It was a lingering issue much of the year, but Harris managed to average 12.9 points a game and shot 41.1 percent from 3-point range. And while he is one of Michigan State's top offensive options, he has been almost as impressive on the defensive end of the floor.
All of those qualities made the NBA a real option for the 6-foot-4 sophomore last summer. But Harris decided to pass up the draft for now and return to Michigan State and a shot at bringing the Spartans another national title.
"I'm really looking forward to (him being healthy)," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "He really worked his tail off this summer. He didn't do much other than staying here on campus and working. He's better with the ball, he's shooting it really well and he's a better passer because he's got a better handle.
"I'm excited. When you've got a player that plays both ends of the court and has humility, for what he's accomplished already, those are special traits."