Tom Izzo is getting the kind of news a lot of his colleagues don’t hear to often these days.
Despite being projected as a lottery pick in June’s NBA Draft, Gary Harris, the Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year, announced today that he’ll put his NBA dreams on hold for at least a year and return to Michigan State.
If junior forward Adreian Payne follows Harris’ lead and elects to play college basketball for another season, Michigan State will be one of the favorites to win the 2014 national championship.
Payne’s return would mean Izzo would welcome back all five of his starters from a team that won 27 games this past season and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before being bounced by Duke.
Harris’ decision in this day of one-and-done players is rare.
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard endured injuries to both of his shoulders and back this season, but decided his NBA dreams can be put on hold.
“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,” Harris said.
Listening to Harris’ comments one easily gets the feeling that he and his Spartan teammates feel as though they have some unfinished business to address.
As long as Payne opts to return, Michigan State will be the overwhelming favorite to win the Big Ten and could win the conference’s first national championship since 2000, a year the Spartans remember well as they were the ones cutting down the nets.
Payne has until April 28 to make a decision.
Doug Griffiths is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association. Doug is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths and Facebook.