As we hinted at on Sunday, Manny Harris announced today that he will forgo his final year of eligibility at Michigan to enter the 2010 NBA Draft. Harris told the assembled media that after talking it over with friends, family, and coaches, he felt it was time for him to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA. We at Maize n Brew love Manny Harris. He was instrumental in turning this program around. He came to Michigan when it made no sense that an athlete of his ability would even consider the program. He made the clutch shots that sent Michigan to its first NCAA tournament in a decade. He was the face of the program for the last three years. And we wish him great sucess at the next level, whatever and whereever it may be.
Alright, platitudes and fawning aside, we've got to ask the crucial question. Is this the right decision? I think if you ask anyone who watched Harris and Michigan play this season, you're going to have the same response:
Look, Harris is a great college player with tremendous pro potential, but he's not even close to being able to realize that potential based on his play this year. As UMHoops points out, we're not the only guys thinking this because Harris is at best a late 2nd Round pick and could likely go undrafted. This is not the way you want to enter the draft with a year of eligibility remaining, especially when you entered this past season as a potential Big Ten POY candidate.
But all that's academic now. Harris has declared for the draft, and the second he signs with an agent, his career at Michigan is officially over. Manny, we wish you the best. Good luck at the next level.
The focus now shifts to who will replace Harris next season. With Harris, Anthony Wright, Zack Gibson and DeShawn Sims departing, Michigan loses 2,706 minutes going into next season. Harris accounted for 1120 of those minutes that will need to be replaced. A this point it's almost a guarantee that Darius Morris will start at the point and barring injury crack the 1,000 minute mark next season (I suspect Tim Hardway, Jr. will see some time backing up Morris). From there, your No. 2 guard is Stu Douglass spotted by Laval Lucas-Perry. At the Three, uhhhhh.... I don't have a clue. If the planets align, Zack Novak would be perfect, but I don't think Michigan's going to have enough depth to allow that. So it'll either be Douglas (with Smotrycz at the 2) or LLP. At the 4, Novak and probably Jordan Mogan (if healthy) or Eso Akunne. At Center.... Blake McLimas and maybe 6'9" recent toothpick commit Jon Horford.
Look, Morris is now the unquestioned floor leader of this team. He's the most gifted athlete on the roster and he'll be or primary scoring threat next season. After that, I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out where Michigan is going to generate points from. The answer may come from the 2010 recruiting class, as Michigan is still in the running for one fo the top shooting guards in the country in Trey Zeigler. Zeigler plans to make his announcement around April 14th. Any question regarding the availability of playing time for Zeigler has been erased with Harris' announcement.
But until Michigan lands another proven scorer or one steps up, Michigan is going struggle to generate offense next season.