MSU Basketball: What does Eron Harris bring to Spartans?

Despite all of Tom Izzo’s complaints about the increasing number of transfers in college basketball, he has managed to grab the most talented transfer of the offseason in former West Virginia star Eron Harris.

Harris is a 6-foot-3 shooting guard who was the second leading scorer for the Mountaineers last season at 17.4 points per game. Due to NCAA rules he will likely have to sit out the 2014-15 season, but will have two years of eligibility remaining after that.

Style-wise Eron Harris’ game is not all that different from former Spartan Gary Harris. He is definitely a volume shooter, as he attempted ten or more field goals in 28 of his team’s 33 games last year. He also took 211 three-point shots last season which, for comparison, was over 100 more than Adreian Payne took for the Spartans. Despite his high volume of attempts, Harris was able to shoot an impressive 42 percent from deep.

Michigan State can use that kind of efficient scoring from deep, especially since it will be losing marksman Travis Trice after the 2014-15 season.

Eron Harris brings perimeter scoring punch to the Spartans

Eron Harris brings perimeter scoring punch to the Spartans

Something else that Eron Harris brings to the table is confidence and fearlessness. He is never afraid to be the guy who takes the shot. This can be a good and a bad thing because while it’s important for a team to have a go-to guy, you don’t want him jacking up bad shots all the time. Harris does love to shoot, even if he is a few feet behind the three-point line, which is fine as long as he is making them.

A unique part to Eron Harris’ game is that he uses the bounce extremely effectively to get himself open shots on the perimeter. Less than 75 percent of his made three-pointers last year were assisted, which was one of the lowest totals in the country. What that means is that he won’t have to depend on elite point guard play in order to get his shot, which is always a nice luxury for a team to have.

One of the downsides to his offensive game is that he isn’t aggressive when it comes to attacking the rim and drawing contact. For another comparison with a Spartan player, Harris attempted 126 more field goals than Keith Appling last season and shot nine less free throws. Granted, a lot more of Harris’ shots were from the perimeter but that is an extreme disparity. He also wasn’t all that efficient inside the arc, as his overall field goal percentage was just one percent higher than his three-point percentage.

It’s important that Tom Izzo lets him play his game and doesn’t try to turn him into something he isn’t, but that won’t stop Izzo from constantly reminding him to get to the rim and get easy baskets.

Two other things that Harris will need to improve during his off year at Michigan State are turnovers and defense. Last season he averaged over two turnovers per game and he wasn’t playing in the run n’ gun MSU offense. He will need to learn to be able to take care of the ball even when the ball is constantly being pushed up the court.

Harris was never known for his defense while at West Virginia, but as far as Tom Izzo is concerned if you don’t play defense, you don’t play. He will benefit from having a year to get used to Izzo and the defensive intensity he wants out of all of his players.

Eron Harris is a scorer at heart, but if Tom Izzo can turn him into an all-around basketball player, Michigan State could have a B1G Player of the Year candidate on it’s hands come 2015.

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