Multiple sources have confirmed Jeff Goodman's tweet that Eron Harris has chosen to transfer to Michigan State. The guard, originally from Indianapolis, had a very strong sophomore season at West Virginia where he averaged 17ppg and hit over 42% from deep. After being consistently in double figures all season, he had an up-and-down end to his time at West Virginia. In March, he sandwiched a 28pt game against Kansas with 5 and 3 point outputs against Oklahoma and Texas, respectively, before losing in the first round of the NIT.
Lots of teams were excited by the prospect of adding Harris. The IndyStar reported that "Within two hours of getting his release, Harris had already been contacted by Butler, Indiana and Purdue as well as Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Ohio State and UCLA." However, his recruitment quickly narrowed to a final three of Purdue, Michigan, and Michigan State. After canceling a visit to Michigan last week, Harris made a quick final call for the Spartans.
Looking at his numbers, Harris is going to come to Michigan State expected to be a scorer immediately. He'll have a year to sit out and learn the ropes of MSU system and Izzo's preferences for shot selection and defensive approach. His turnover rate and defensive ability don't get unanimous positive reviews but a new situation and more experience can turn that around. In a great UMHoops scouting video of Harris (serious HT), the numbers reveal a player who is strong at getting his own shot by shooting off the dribble, scoring in isolation plays, and taking threes without an assist. Though fans might wring their hands about "me first" play and the lack of setting up teammates, the reality is that players with the ability to get and take their own shot are always needed. Even last year, MSU struggled with enough players who could do it on their own consistently when the offensive flow didn't click.
As I've been talking about, I'm a big fan of this move. Yes, it may make it less likely that Michigan State will add another high school wing to the 2015 class. Though I'd expect the staff to cover bases in remain in contact with players like Montaque Gill-Caesar, A.J. Turner, Eric Davis, etc., the wing roster is getting full for the next few years with Javon Bess, Alvin Ellis III, Denzel Valentine, and Kyle Ahrens already on board. In addition, there is a lot of talk that Cleveland State transfer Bryn Forbes is close to joining the Spartans too, though it isn't clear if he'll be on scholarship or not. He may also be able to play immediately in 2014 if he's granted a hardship waiver. This would help with roster spacing with a second transfer.
With that acknowledged, I wouldn't mourn the forfeiting of any 2015 recruits over Harris. Despite the excitement of the unknown upside of high school players, it's hard to roll the dice on that and turn down a player who has already proven himself to be an elite scorer at the high D1 level. Adding Eron Harris as a transfer is basically the equivalent of adding a Top 10 freshman wing who will redshirt (bonus!). He arrives with the potential to put up double digit points in his first season and will only be available for one or two years. His decision making and defense might not be elite but you get a lot in return. So, if you have hesitations about transfers, my suggestion is to think of this as the equivalent of national five-star shooting guard.
We'll have to wait a while to see him play but it's already a good day to be a Spartan. Welcome aboard, Eron Harris!