Manny Harris To Enter NBA Draft

Submitted by Tim on March 29th, 2010 at 11:28 AM


As expected, Michigan basketball guard Manny Harris has elected to forego his senior season with the Wolverines to declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft. Press release quotes from Manny Harris and coach John Beilein:

"After long discussions with the U-M staff and my family and friends, I have decided to pursue my dream of professional basketball and leave U-M early for the NBA," said Harris. "It is important for me to thank the University of Michigan, Coach Beilein and his staff, my teammates, my professors, as well as all those in the athletic department who have helped me over the last three years. My growth as a person and player wouldn't have been possible without them.

"I will always appreciate the college game and what it has done for me, but playing professional basketball has always been a goal and I feel it is the best time to pursue that. I will always be a Michigan Wolverine at heart and bleed Maize and Blue forever."

"Manny believes it is his time to move on to the NBA and we fully support him," said U-M coach John Beilein. "It was a tough decision for him and we are prepared to assist him in every way we can as he begins this new chapter in his life. Manny has assured us he plans on successfully finishing this semester, which would put him in a position to graduate from Michigan with just one more academic year."

"In three short years, Manny has compiled outstanding career numbers in points, rebounds, assists and steals -- milestones many very good players do not reach during a four-year career. I have many fond memories of Manny's time at Michigan. He has been clutch in so many big wins we certainly will miss him however we wish him nothing but the best in his professional basketball career and beyond."

That's mostly boilerplate, obviously. A few notes from the press conference, with bonus DeShawn Sims material as well:

  • Regarding his draft stock: "I believe the work you put in is what you get out." He's not worried about his projections for the draft, and will simply work hard to achieve his dream of playing in the NBA. If that means he has to play in Europe or the D-League first, he's willing to do so.
  • Harris plans to hire an agent, and will not be able to return to Michigan next season. He will keep working out with Michigan's coaches and strength staff to prepare for the NBA.
  • Manny said it's very hard to leave Michigan, but at the end of the day you've got to make a decision. He consulted AAU coaches, old high school coaches, and family and friends.
  • Manny stressed that his relationship with Coach Beilein is good (despite butting heads with him a few times this year), and he will always support the program and Michigan. Playing the 3 position at Michigan is "a great experience," and he would encourage any talented guard to come play at Michigan. Beilein's probably happy about that, as he said, "If there's a kid out there who will help us replace Manny, we'll recruit him."
  • For all Manny did for this team, Beilein pointed out that it's his clutch free throw shooting that the team might miss the most.
  • DeShawn Sims said that Manny feels like he's been around longer than his three years, because he's had to bear so much responsibility from the beginning.
  • DeShawn will definitely attend the Portsmouth Invitational. He's working out in Ann Arbor with Michigan's coaches and Manny to prepare for the NBA.
  • Sims said that next year's team will be improved because the players will understand the system, and chemistry will be improved. He noted that poor chemistry might have been the source of some of Michigan's troubles this season.



March 29th, 2010 at 11:37 AM ^

Selfishly, I would have liked to have seen him come back for his senior season and take a shot at becoming Michigan's all-time leading scorer.

Will always appreciate his major contribution to the program's turnaround.


March 29th, 2010 at 11:41 AM ^

Nice to hear the kids supporting the team as they leave, I wish them both the best.

I am 100% behind Beilein, I really believe in him as a coach and he is doing a very job in recruting considering he follows the rules and doesn't have a whole lot to sell right now.

That being said next year could be an epic disaster on the court. I hope people keep their heads if that goes down. We have no seniors, limited penetrators and no big man experience. If we can survive next year I think things will go up from there and we'll be able to start competing for Big 10 titles, but boy the perfect storm is hitting basketball just like football and it really wasn't Amaker's or Beilein's fault totally, just a perfect storm of circumstances and breaks.


March 29th, 2010 at 11:53 AM ^

Next year is now officially a rebuilding year. The downside: more losses. The upside: it can't possibly be as frustrating as this year.

I hoped Manny would come back and try to lead the team back to the tournament, but I don't blame him for leaving. He helped Michigan become competitive again and seemingly was a good guy while he did it.


March 29th, 2010 at 11:47 AM ^

Sims said that next year's team will be improved because the players will understand the system, and chemistry will be improved. He noted that poor chemistry might have been the source of some of Michigan's troubles this season.


March 29th, 2010 at 12:01 PM ^

He brought that up a couple of times this year. He said they didn't play together much in the offseason. Not sure the reasons why, but when you see a team like Cornell that all lives together and they play against each other all the time it has to be beneficial considering they don't get to be with Beilein during the summer.


March 29th, 2010 at 10:05 PM ^

I think Manny knew this as well even if he never said so. He is leaving because he knew Michigan may be better off without him.

As an athelete Manny was versitile. Manny was such a great talent. He just was not be the best fit for UM. Manny's ability also may have intimidated and inadvertantly constricted his teammates. He knew it was time to go.

I commend Manny for staying, I also commend him for leaving. I really want to see how he does in a system that best fits him.

I wish him all the best. Go Blue Manny, we will miss you.


March 29th, 2010 at 11:57 AM ^

I think he got bad advice from his "friends" outside the program, but I wish him well. I just wish he had taken the extra year to develop his game more and to get a degree.

Hopefully, somehow, he is able to have a nice career in pro ball. Maybe if he finds the right situation overseas it will work out well for him. There are probably leagues over there where his finesse game might work out really well. If Darko was a star over there, Manny should do quite well, too.


March 29th, 2010 at 12:16 PM ^

I wish Manny the best. Though personally I think he could stand to use another year of prepping, the fact remains that this is probably the player he is going to be (similar to Warren's situation) either this year or next. Personally, I'd stick around for the degree, but hopefully he can come back and finish that up in the off-season.

As for next year, I really don't see why people are as doom-and-gloom. Losing Sims will be tough because of the lack of depth inside, but if there is one thing I've seen in college hoops, a team of less-talented kids who buy into a program can topple a more talented squad with less cohesion all the time. And it is not like next year will be bereft of talent - Morris should take a step forward, and the incoming class could well produce 2-3 decent starters/big-bench guys. I'm not saying the team is going to challenge for the B10 title, but a NCAA bid doesn't seem impossible either. It certainly can't be a worse squad than the one Beilein inherited.


March 29th, 2010 at 12:38 PM ^

Well, we're losing our two best players (Harris, Sims). Our returning starters are a PG who can't shoot, a SG who can't shoot the three (at least not this past season), and Zack Novak (whose grit is surpassed only by Tom Zbikowski's, but who shouldn't be your team's best player).

Meanwhile, we also lose our only other experienced big (Gibson, who was actually pretty decent). This team is going to be tiny next year, and for a team that's so small, we're really not all that fast or great shooters, either.

I don't think it will be an "epic disaster" because expectations will be low. But it almost certainly won't be a fun season for Michigan fans.


March 29th, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

Beilein's elite 8 team at WVU only had one guy over 6'8" (Pittsnogle). I'm not saying that size doesn't matter (that's what...never mind), but it doesn't seem like it is a necessity for Beilein to win. Good shooters, on the other hand, are, so the improvements on the perimeter need to show up soon.


March 29th, 2010 at 1:45 PM ^

I think Morgan is 6"8" and Metrics is 6"7", but I could be wrong. I believe next year will be a big success if we go over .500 and get to the NIT. The freshman (true and redshirt) will help but cannot possibly replace what we lose. We aren't getting John Wall.

It will really help if we get Zeigler, but even he isn't a top ten recruit. I am hoping we have a lot better chemistry and all of our players have a jump in their shooting percentage next year, or we are going to have one of the worst teams in the big ten.


March 29th, 2010 at 2:45 PM ^

I guess I am higher on Morris than you are. This year, with Sims and Harris being the focal point of the offense (and LLP also sitting higher up on the food chain), Morris was not asked to do much offensively. I agree that he didn't show a great ability shooting the ball, but his game should take some leaps with a full offseason to practice. As for the size, the freshmen should help, but it is not like the team two years ago had a great deal of size, and they still found a way to compete. If the shooters improve, and you have to figure they will somewhat, then this team will be dangerous. Maybe not NCAA tournament dangerous, but probably at least as good as this year's team.


March 29th, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

UM could have a better record next year than they did this year. With him gone, if we get Trey Ziegler and one more additional contributor (Sykes?), we could still be decent next year. We will be very young and inexperienced and that will cost us some games. But, we will be longer and more athletic (due to the additions not the subtractons) and hopefully have better chemistry and leadership. The best thing might be that we can have guys playing their "normal" positions, (i.e. Stu at the 2 and Zach at the 3). With 4 guys at 6'8" or taller (even though they are all 1st year players), we can always have length at the 4 & 5 if JB chooses to and rotate in 2 fresh bodies. That should help the rebounding, post offense & defense. I am not talking NCAA tournament, but I do think that it will be interesting and entertaining and not a disaster as some fear. AND, in 2011 we add in Brundidge and maybe Plumlee.

spam and beans

March 29th, 2010 at 12:23 PM ^

Even though this year was a bust, and now it appears next year will be a tough year, it is still time to say "thanks" for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is for last years NCAA bid and first round win. Watching Michigan get in was a real treat.
Good luck Manny, I hope you eventually realize your dream of playing in the NBA.

Demar Dorsey Fan C

March 29th, 2010 at 12:26 PM ^

He was a key part of Michigan basketball. I like how in his interview he stated how much he loves the U of (thee) M!!! Goodluck in the pros, Second round draft pick? PROBABLY. Detroit Pistons 2010 draft pick, HOPEFULLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


March 29th, 2010 at 3:11 PM ^

But there's a difference between a measured evaluation of his draft/NBA prospects and an a-hole style snark at the expense of a kid who has played hard for Michigan for the last three years. I think he deserves better than that (not that he reads the blog or probably gives two shits whether anonymous interweb users approve or disapprove of his decision).

He thinks leaving now will put him in a better position to achieve his career goals. He might be wrong, but he's trying to make the best decision he can for himself and his family.


March 29th, 2010 at 11:15 PM ^

First of all, I hope Manny has a long and successful career in the NBA. My "a-hole style snark" is simply a joke. It might be a bad joke, but it is a joke. My comment is completely irrelevant and it is not at the expense of anyone. It seems to me that you are little sensitive and take yourself way too seriously.

If you think Manny deserves better, then you might wanna be upset at John Beilein. At the presser today, Beilein went on and on about how great of a free throw shooter Manny is and how the team is gonna miss his free throw shooting next year. Really coach? That is all you can think of to say about your best player? Manny derserves a lot better than that! When it came to quesions from the media, Beilein cut them off and said he had to catch a flight. Way to talk up your player coach! His comments actually matter!


March 29th, 2010 at 12:37 PM ^

I think another year would have really helped. Look at Rautins in Syracuse. I think the 4th year has helped his draft stock. Too bad he decided to leave, but we got to wish him all the best. Thanks Manny!


March 29th, 2010 at 12:46 PM ^

This kinda screams Ewing Theory to me a little bit. I agree with one of the above posters that chemistry and cohesiveness can beat talent in college basketball. We see it in the tourney all the time. This might be addition via subtraction, especially if any chemistry issues rubbed off on younger guys or prevented them from maturing as much as they otherwise could have.


March 29th, 2010 at 1:01 PM ^

Hopefully losing our two leading scorers will make other players rise up this off season and encourage more of a team unity, since we now can't rely on Manny or Sims scoring for us. Maybe the team will come together more after this and become a better team instead of two guys scoring and three guys passing the ball.

We can all only hope this happens. Or else we are screwed.


March 29th, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

Lets be honest. Manny did a lot of things for Michigan, he had nice stats, but was lacking as the emotional leader of this team. The players looked to him to be a leader but he never stepped up into the role that was his to take. If Manny had stayed his draft stock would improve but if he didn't step up and be THE team leader it would have been another difficult season. Merritt and Lee were nowhere as good on the floor as Manny, but they were leaders.They were the heart and soul of the 2009 team.
I will be interested to see who rises to the top of the team for next season.

Believe in RR

March 29th, 2010 at 1:19 PM ^

Wish you well Manny, but believe another year would have done you good. (Just ask Eric Turner) I know I just dated myself with that statement.

As for the team, possibly a blessing in disguise. I have thought about the fight that Manny got into a couple of months back in practice and wonder how much more of this was not talked about? The team needs to be unified and if Manny was getting in the way of this, then I say it's time to go. Michigan needs someone to come in and lead this team!

Mr. Bako

March 29th, 2010 at 2:31 PM ^

I don't think another year on this team would have helped him. I certainly didn't see any improvement between last season and this season. Remember Manny being compared to Evan Turner last season? Evan stepped up this year. Manny didn't.

I do agree with your sentiment regarding chemistry and the suspension resulting from a fight, though. I have a feeling that the rest of the team isn't upset to see him go. Words once spoken cannot be taken back....


March 29th, 2010 at 1:56 PM ^

next year. Harris and Sims were Michigan's offense last year.
The younger players will really need to grow up fast and contribute in major ways. I think they could surprise in some aspects, but damn, Michigan's Big Ten conference competition isn't exactly standing around waiting for Michigan to finally catch up.

Wish Harris best of luck.

Does this mean he won't graduate with a degree from UM? Just wondering.


March 29th, 2010 at 4:15 PM ^

This strikes me as the move of a guy who just really doesn't want to be here no matter what (that or a guy with an unrealistic confidence about his own draft status). To hire an agent when you aren't even projected to get drafted makes zero sense to me. Fortunately, there are a lot of opportunities to play basketball professionally around the world and he won't be stuck in a Shazor situation if the NBA doesn't call, but it is still sad to see.

I don't quite get all the doom and bloom predictions for next year. It isn't like the team was very good with Harris/Sims in the lineup and we've seen it posted here just how inefficient (though very prolific) a scorer Manny was in college. Beilein has shown he can get an undersized team to play good D, whereas this year's team struggled because they were terrible shooting from the perimeter. Replacing Sims and Manny with Metrics and Vogrich seems like a big net gain in 3-point percentage without much if any loss of size (though probably a decrease in athleticism without Sims). If they can open up the floor with their shooting and we see a return to 2008-09 3-pt levels for LLP, Stu, and Novak, I don't see any reason why the team can't be at least as good if not a good number of games better.


March 29th, 2010 at 5:42 PM ^

Well there is only 1 player left on this team from the Tommy Amaker days (Anthony Wright). So now you'll get to see what kind of coach he is. Both Harris and Sims were Amaker guys left behind. Having Epke Udoh on this team last year would have helped but Beilein flushed him out to Baylor like RR did with Ryan Mallett to Arkansas. Why give him an extension when he hasn't done much? He has lots of young guys who look like busts. Better question will be who get's fired first from the West Virginia boys? I say get rid of them both...


March 29th, 2010 at 6:12 PM ^

leaves MUCH if not everything to be desired. Why the extension? Well, along with getting Michigan back into the tournament in over a decade, Coach B has proven at three other smaller schools that he knows how to build programs into legitimate powers (see WVU in the final four currently). As for Ekpe, he left b/c he didn't like Beilein's system; in fact both Michigan programs underwent huge philosophical changes that led to "rebuilding." Our rational and intelligent fans should expect the suffering as fans that we've endured.

Your post, though, reminds me of my little brother who always EXPECTS perfection from Michigan, but who has NO PATIENCE to earn such rewards. In other words, he's a "band-wagon" fan who went to Michigan. You? I question if you even went to Michigan since your post has more rhetoric than a Sarah Palin speech to a bunch of people with teabags on their heads.


March 30th, 2010 at 10:36 AM ^

as defined by Merriam Webster follows:

"A type or mode of language or speech; also insincere or grandiloquent language."

Just b/c you're a fan of the moron that is Palin . . . try to show more intelligence than she who allegedly reads "any magazines, all magazines" yet can't name one in particular. Otherwise don't respond at all (and let the political reference just be benign). I'm pretty certain you won't let this response be though.