Saturday, March 27, 2010

Goodbye Mr. Fresh?

News has recently been surfacing that suggests that junior guard Manny "Fresh" Harris is ready to leave the University of Michigan Men's basketball program for the NBA. According to sources, Harris will observe his draft prospects in the near future and, by the deadline of April 25th, is likely to declare for the NBA draft. If Harris decides to declare for the NBA draft, however, as long as he remains agent-free, he has until June 14th to change his mind.

While it seems like Harris, a Detroit native with a big family, could obviously use the financial comforts that come with being an NBA draft pick, I question whether Harris was impressive enough last year to even be an NBA draft pick at all.

Let's start with some statistics: 18.1 points per game, 4.1 assists per game, 6 rebounds per game.

I will acknowledge that these numbers are good, but are they NBA worthy? Even if the reader's response is yes, let's also consider the fact that Harris' team went 15-17 last season (ouch), Harris made slightly over 30% of his three pointers (yikes), shot 80% from the charity stripe (solid), and averaged 2.8 turnovers per game (what if every starter did that?).

Yes, Harris is a great slasher. Yes, in the last 10 minutes of the season, Harris showed great poise against Ohio State. Yes, Harris can create off the dribble. But does anyone else get the impression that last year, regardless of the numbers, he just wasn't as "Fresh" as the Ohio State game at the end of the year evidenced he could be?

Is it possible that NBA scouts saw the same Manny "Stale" Harris on a 15-win Michigan Wolverines basketball team that I did in 2009-2010? The one who jacked up 3-pointers at inopportune times all season long, punched his teammate in practice (which lead to a suspension), and turned the ball over constantly?

Even a "maybe" here still gives hope that Manny Harris will return to Michigan for his senior season to regain his "fresh" form. Without Harris' friend and stud teammate DeShawn Sims, it could be a tough road. But if Harris gets honest feedback about his draft position and the NBA does not come calling as I believe it will not, Harris will have no choice but to accept the challenge of turning around a sub-500 Wolverines basketball team.

My greatest fear, however, is that Harris will have poor draft prospects, declare for the draft anyway, not be drafted, and never make the big money that he has worked hard for his entire life. I would hate to see Harris in Europe or as a mainstay in the NBA development league.

For a kid with such high potential, it would be a shame to not watch him at least attempt one more year of college, where I strongly believe he can only improve his draft position and capitalize on the monetary award that will come with the draft position improvement.

Thoughts? Feel free to share you views about the future of Manny Harris in the "comments" section.

1 comment:

Tyler said...

It's official now: Manny Harris is out of here. He's also planning to hire an agent, so he is definitely not coming back.