Welcome Aboard, Gary Harris!

Photo credit: Indystar.com

After almost two years of guessing, speculation and anguish on the part of at least four fanbases Gary Harris has finally made the call. He will be wearing the green-and-white of Michigan State when he begins his college career in 2012.

Harris, a five-star recruit from Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Indiana, has been a player of interest for MSU since his freshman year. The Indy Star first reported MSU's scholarship offer to Harris in early June, 2010, after he made an unofficial visit to East Lansing. Since then, as his stock and reputation continued to rise, he has been the source of more discussion and debate than any Izzo recruit in recent memory. Well it's all finally over and, as Spartan fans, we couldn't be happier. Congratulations, Gary, and welcome to the Spartan family!

Harris first began to draw national attention as a 14 year old freshmen when he lead HSE to a win in its sectional in the Indiana state tournament for the first time in school history. In his sophomore year he was picking up D-1 offers and by April, 2010 he had offers from Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Xavier, Cincinnati and IUPUI. He had a great AAU season in Spring of 2010 and that's when things really started to heat up, including the Michigan State offer in June.

In January of this year Harris had a big showing at the Flyin' to the Hoop Tournament in Dayton, Ohio and his recruitment, already hot, really began to sizzle. By this fall interest in Harris' recruitment had risen so high that he agreed to write a journal for Scout.com of all four of his official visits, to Purdue, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan State. He posted the final entry ($), about his trip to East Lansing, just 2 days before committing to Tom Izzo and the Spartans.

The Numbers

Gary Harris (SG) 6'4", 190 LB
Rivals: 5-star, #3 SG, #25 overall
Scout: 5-star, #2 SG, #5 overall
ESPN: 5-star, 97 grade, #1 SG, #10 overall

When Harris arrived on the recruiting scene he was known as a jump-shooter but now he has emerged as a slasher with exceptional ability to finish at the rim. He also gets high marks from the scouting services for his tenacious defense, which should make him a good fit on a Tom Izzo team. As a junior at HSE he averaged 17.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

At 6'4" with long arms he should be able to play the 2 and the 3 at MSU. He'll join a talented group of wings that will include Branden Dawson, Brandan Kearney, Russell Byrd, Kenny Kaminski and Denzel Valentine when he arrives. For some video of Harris courtesy of Jay Jensen at Michigan Prep Stars, see Pete's post from last night.

The addition of Harris turns what was already an excellent 2012 class into one of the best in the country. Shortly after the Harris decision ESPN's recruiting expert Dave Telep tweeted that "Michigan State has to be the big winner of the day. Gary Harris is a T-10 player, No. 1 SG and vaults class to No. 3 in ESPNU rankings".

Harris is Izzo's most highly ranked recruit since Delvon Roe. With last year's signing of Branden Dawson of Gary, Indiana this should put to rest any lingering doubts about Izzo not being able to land top-ranked players from outside of Michigan. Spartan fans hope this continues as he goes after players like Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones in upcoming classes. It should be an exciting few years coming up for Spartan basketball.

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