For the bulk of this season, it didn’t appear Michigan State fans would have to worry about losing any players early to the NBA Draft.
However, in recent weeks, some have wondered if junior Adreian Payne was beginning to play himself into a position where leaving early might become an option.
But according to ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford, the worry will come with freshman Gary Harris. Ford updated his rankings and has Harris listed as the 10th overall prospect right now, predicting he would be a lottery pick if he entered the NBA Draft.
That’s ahead of Michigan’s Trey Burke (16) and Glenn Robinson III (25).
Here’s what Ford had to say about Harris:
“Harris has been consistently good against some of the toughest competition in college basketball. Freshmen rarely put up big numbers for the Spartans, but Harris has consistently been the best player on a very talented, veteran team. Harris even managed to score 19 points against an Indiana team that has Victor Oladipo roaming the perimeter. Even more bizarrely, he did it with a bum shoulder.”
Harris has battled shoulder and back injuries all season but has averaged 15.3 points over the last eight games and had a 22-point outing in a victory over Purdue.
It appears the NBA scouts are looking past the injuries.
“Back spasms and an early injury to the same shoulder in November have kept Harris from being 100 percent,” Ford wrote. “But even at less than 100 percent, more and more scouts believe he’s one of the top three shooting guards in the game.”
Ford ranks Payne as the 40th overall prospect and Branden Dawson is at No. 41.