Performance Review: Eron Harris

Impact Izzone will be handing out performance reviews for each Spartan in the following weeks. The series will start with the freshmen and move up the classes. Stay tuned for the rest of our grades! Check out Javon Bess’ performance review here.

2015-16 stats: 20.9 mins, 9.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, 43.4% FG, 44% 3-PT

Blake Froling:

Eron Harris underwent a complete and total transformation as a basketball player from 2014 to 2016. When he was at West Virginia for the first two years, he was a scoring machine with little regard for defense. Team basketball wasn’t a priority, but getting buckets was. Anyone who follows Michigan State basketball knows that style doesn’t fly with Coach Izzo.

When MSU fans got their first look at Harris in the regular season, they were underwhelmed. Stories swirled about him being the most talented player on the Final Four squad a year ago, and he didn’t play a single game. So when the shooting woes started, everyone wondered what was wrong. Not to mention the fact that he would get pulled from games for lack of defense.

Fast forward a few months and MSU fans saw that complete and total transformation. Harris never became the go-to scorer that he was at West Virginia; that role was already filled quite nicely by Denzel Valentine. But he did turn into a lockdown defender, arguably the Big Ten’s best, something even Coach Izzo might not have expected. He also flashed some freaky athleticism with rim-rocking dunks and shored up his three-point shooting.

Now Harris will be charged with leading MSU out of the shadows of their shocking loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He leads the team in points and three-point shooting among returning players, and looks to be the go-to scorer in the absence of Valentine. His leadership skills could determine how far this young Spartan squad goes.

Final Grade: B+

 

Davey Segal:

I’ll be honest: coming into this past season, I didn’t know much about Eron Harris. Pretty much all I knew was that he was transferring from West Virginia, where Bob Huggins instills defense in his players. I also knew he was a freakish athlete who had a ton of untapped potential. He averaged 17 points per game at WVU before leaving, so we knew he’d be able to score the ball. What I was interested to see how he would adapt to not being a top three option on offense, and how he’d adapt to coming off the bench, yet making an impact.

With that in mind, I, personally, didn’t have lofty expectations for the guard out of Indianapolis. However, he impressed me in a multitude of different ways this season. 1). His ability to get his teammates involved. 2). His freakish athletic ability (we all LOVE those baseline jams, but don’t like those missed layups). And 3). His utter tenacity on defense.

The one game that comes to mind for me with Harris is the Maryland game at home, where he was put on, arguably, the best point guard in the nation in Melo Trimble, and shut him down. Although Trimble dropped 24 points in a losing effort, Harris’ effort and willingness to accept his role on last season’s team as an enforcer and fourth or fifth scoring option really resonated with me in a positive manner. With three seniors departing, Harris will be one of the unquestioned leaders of this team, only in his second year in East Lansing. If he can get close to his final season as a Mountaineer, increases his scoring while remaining defensively energized, we may be looking at the next Kris Dunn. I can’t wait to watch Eron in 2016-2017.

Final Grade: B+

 

Ryan Cole:

After sitting out his first year in Tom Izzo’s program due to NCAA transfer rules, Eron Harris finally got to partake in game action for the Spartans this season. After a shaky start, Harris established himself as a dedicated, freakish athlete, and in the process excited Spartan fans for his upcoming senior year.

At West Virginia, Harris was strictly known as an athletic scorer (17.2 PPG in his sophomore year while scoring numerous highlight dunks), but was somewhat of a defensive liability under Bob Huggins. Once he joined Izzo in East Lansing, the winningest coach in Michigan State history pushed Harris to use his freakish athleticism to his advantage on the defensive side of the court. It took some time, but by the end of December, Eron Harris had carved himself a starting role.

It seemed as if Harris was fueled by his position in the starting lineup because his best performances came during the rest of the season. In Denzel Valentine’s absence, Harris emerged as an offensive juggernaut, especially in the overtime win against Oakland where he scored 27 points. He flipped the script and played elite defense against some of the top guards in the nation, including Maryland’s Melo Trimble and Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell. Harris also threw down the greatest dunk I have ever witnessed in person early in the home game against Iowa, albeit in a losing effort.

Another underrated aspect of Harris’ game to watch is his vocal leadership. The Indianapolis native is one of the most outspoken men on the roster, so I expect him to be the bona fide leader for a young Spartan squad in 2016-17. While Harris does need to work on becoming the true slasher that Michigan State has lacked for the last few seasons, his overall improvement throughout the 2015-16 season and vocal leadership leads me to believe he can become one of the top guards in the nation in his senior campaign.

Final Grade: B

 

David Manion:

After sitting out the 2014-2015 basketball season due to transfer rules, Eron Harris was ready to show Spartan nation that the hype was real. And he did just that and then some.

Before transferring to MSU, the Indianapolis native played his first two years of collegiate basketball at West Virginia University. Bob Huggins’ squads are reputable for producing lethal scorers, and that’s exactly what he got out of Juwan Staten and Eron Harris during the 2013 campaign. Despite Harris being the overshadowed sidekick to Staten, he netted 17 points per game while shooting nearly 44% from the field and 86% from the charity stripe.

When he first arrived in East Lansing in 2014, many Spartan fans saw him leading the charge the next year with his incredible potential and athleticism. Harris had trouble right from the start to meet or even come close to his coach’s expectations. His defense was lackluster at best, he frequently turned the ball over and he was throwing up more bricks than the Great Wall of China. I was actually not that surprised to see him struggling. He sat out for one straight season which caused his mental aspect and in game experience to take a major hit early.

Harris’s coming out party finally came on December 22, 2015 when MSU faced Oakland in the Palace of Auburn Hills. Replacing Mister Versatile (Denzel Valentine) due to injury, the former WVU player stepped up big by scoring 27 points on 7 of 13 shooting. From there on out, he’s been a major offensive asset. Harris can hurt a defense in so many ways. He utilizes his athleticism to his advantage with his superior speed by drawing in defenders down low, leaving Valentine or Forbes wide open. He has also cut down his turnovers and has drastically improved on the defensive end. Izzo has really developed him into a lockdown defender, following his guy every step of the way.

Personally, Eron Harris is a taller and more athletic version than Tum Tum Nairn who can actually shoot the ball. He did a superb job of taking a back seat to the dynamic trio of Valentine, Forbes and Costello, as he served as a great role player with many positive attributes. He’ll receive the opportunity to lead the Spartans to new heights next season, something he has yet to experience.

Final Grade: A-