Michigan State Basketball: Gary Harris On Track to Win Big Ten Player of the Year

Gary Harris

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Not many people in college basketball have been talking about one of its brightest young stars and one of the best players in the Big Ten this season: Gary Harris. The Michigan State Spartans have relied heavily on the stud sophomore as he has been the man to lead the team in the absence of Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson.

Many people would argue that the Michigan WolverinesNik Stauskas is the conference player of the year, but if the Wolverines don’t keep their hot streak alive, Harris is going to run away with Player of the Year honors.

Just how good has he been this season? Check out his stat line. Harris has averaged 18.3 points per game to go along with 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 2.8 assists per game. He is second in the conference in scoring and he has been electric in every aspect of the game since Jan. 1, posting 21 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 3.0 steals per game.

Besides being one of the best scorers in college basketball, he is widely considered the best defender in the Big Ten as well — or very close to it. Sure, Stauskas has the offensive numbers, but he averages less than a steal per game and less than four rebounds per game.

If the Big Ten Player of the Year is based on overall body of work and excelling in every aspect of the game, expect Harris to run away with th award.

It’s not often you see a guy excel at both sides of the court and dominate the opposition in every aspect of the game.

That is why Harris deserves the Big Ten Player of the Year award right now. There is still plenty of basketball to play yet.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at connor.muldowney@rantsports.com.

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  • grant

    i am a michigan fan, and i actually agree harris should have the edge over stauskas because of the defensive presence harris brings. however, i sense some bias when i see all the reasons harris should lead, but none of the points that favor stauskas. if you truly believe harris is the best, you should be able to be very transparent with their performances, without holding back on anything.

    like the fact that stauskas averages 3.8 assists, while harris doesnt even get 3. or the fact that harris only averages 43.6 % from the feild while stauskas averages 50% flat.

    you could also mention the leadership stauskas brings is more than what harris brings. ex. vs state holding HIS COACH beilein back from getting a technical foul. appling and valentine and trice and payne all bring leadership, harris brings a little swag, but thats nothing stauskas lacks.

    whos a better offensively? close but stauskas, hes a better assist man, and has a better shot.

    whos better defensively? harris, and its not that close, stauskas is above averages but hes not near the elite, and harris is the ideal even for the elite.

    intangables? stauskas. he takes better shots, gets his teammates involved more, and is a great leader while never compromising his swagger.

    still, because harris has more athleticism and defense, ill give him the edge. unless stauskas shows more like the step back 3 against wisconsin with less than a minute, which i fully expect to see.

    • http://www.rantsports.com/blog/author/connormuldowney/ Connor Muldowney

      I agree with a lot of this, but the point of the article was to say why Harris should be the favorite. There’s no doubt that Stauskas is a better shooter and assist man. Harris has been put into a tough spot with two of his teammates out and it’s hard to adjust. Stauskas has been thrown into a leadership role as well.

      It’s definitely down to these two and no close third.