If you’re surfing ’round the old Internets today, you might come across a lot of proclamations about the talented Mr. Manny Harris of Michigan. He’s a freshman and he leads the Wolverines in scoring (16.4 per game), rebounding (4.6) and assists (3.0).
An impressive line, for sure. But let’s keep it in context. Harris is being leaned on heavily right now because he’s the future of the program. There’s no reason for first-year coach John Beilein to play his more-experienced guards because 1) they’ve got the same knowledge of his system that Harris does and 2) they won’t be around much longer.
So if Harris is the more physically gifted player — and he is — despite the fact that he’s prone to freshman mistakes (shot selection) and hasn’t a clue what it means to play in a conference as physical as the Big Ten.
Imagine, for a moment, that Kelvin Sampson had been fired in the off season, and Eric Gordon had followed him wherever he went. A new coach arrives, bringing with him a radically different style to a team with middle-of-the-conference talent. He looks out at the players before him on the first day of practice and sees seniors Mike White and Lance Stemler. Then there’s freshman Brandon McGee.
You’ve got A.J. Ratliff and Jordan Crawford. Whose development is more important for you?
Disclaimer: Harris is a very talented player who plays a strong all-around game. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him guard Eric Gordon tonight, in fact. He’ll be on the Big Ten All-Freshman team and all that.
But Indiana’s got the clear edge in freshmen talent. No rookie duo in the nation is scoring as much as Gordon and Crawford (another Detroit native) and Crawford has only been put in the position of having to carry the offense once (which he did, scoring 20 against Kentucky.)
Speaking of Gordon . . . anybody think he’ll take less than eight 3-pointers tonight against that 1-3-1 zone?