Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Michigan Basketball: Manny Harris Moves On (forward?)

Posted at 8:00am -- 3/30/2010

Michigan Basketball: Manny Harris Moves On (forward?)

The expected decision now has no drama; Manny Harris is entering the NBA draft. This (Manny’s decision) is a known quantity and there is no mystery as to the why. But like a new novel, the ending can only be inferred or guessed at after reading the first chapter. Manny’s life chapter as a player at Michigan is concluded, but the intermediate chapters and the final ending to his active basketball career as a player at the next level(s) will only be penned by the due process of time. Before the construction of future chapters of basketball challenges, Manny’s decision will be subject to natural and normal conjecture, analysis, and judgment. The primary axis of any discussion will center on whether Manny left Michigan prematurely, that axis has already revolved for months. But there are other points of natural interest to ponder and mildly debate. The debate of course is merely academic and moot; this is Manny’s decision and his life. And so it follows that the final decision is his alone and looking back can be for the faint of heart; looking forward can enable the opportunist.

Before entering into this academic (for discussion only) dialogue, it is proper and certainly appropriate to offer up gratitude for Manny’s contributions to Michigan, and then on to the timely dialogue.

Manny decided to keep his commitment to Michigan after the removal of the head coach to whom he offered his commitment. In this day and age that is a sign of loyalty and commitment to a program. Very easily, Michigan may never have had Manny be a part of the last three years. By all accounts, he is a respected youngster, on and off the court, and yes this includes the couple of times he landed in the doghouse.

Of all of Manny’s observable traits, his athleticism stands out the most. There can be no denying Manny’s underlying abilities that feed his strengths on a basketball court. Manny is a very quick leaper, has good size, is versatile, and can create off the dribble and hit from outside, all with reasonable, certainly above average, proficiency.

From the onset of his college career, Manny was expected to play beyond his experience level and contribute far more than the normal underclassman. This to some players is burdensome. Was this so for Manny? Perhaps future discussion by the Michigan star will shed light on his leadership role and how it was acknowledged. Perhaps, Manny was a reluctant leader, perhaps not.

Here is a simple thought to close out this part of the discourse: GBMW and the Wolverine Nation wishes Manny the very best in the pursuit of his dream.

Now that Manny has left the Michigan basketball program was the exit indeed a year early? In the eyes of many fans the exit was a year early. But that opinion holds zero value in this equation. What has value will be the assessment of the NBA front offices. Know this, as a group the NBA executives are not wishy-washy or diverse about what type of player gets drafted. These guys are looking for certain things and the day of nursing undergrads for two or three years all in the name of development is now pretty much defunct. With tens of millions on the line for primary draft picks, there is little room for executive error in the off with your head NBA.

Manny has been well scouted by the tight-lipped NBA front-office types. But every player will be told by someone, somewhere across the basketball spectrum what a player wants to hear: that he will be a high draft round and a certain team is waiting in the wings, unknown to others in the basketball universe.

Similar discussion ensued from Michigan football fans when Donovan Warren left for the NFL early this year. Did both make a mistake, did one make a mistake and the other a great choice, or did both athletes make the right choice?

As far as Manny goes, he will need to really pick it up during the summer NBA camps to impress scouts. Some believe he will not be drafted at all, while others believe his name will emerge in the second round. “Hope” is still held that Manny will be drafted late in the first round.

Manny’s draft position may not totally hinge on what he does to impress this summer, but instead his ultimate selection may hinge on who and how many other players decide to come out early for the NBA. This could mean that Manny is drafted and ends up on an NBA roster or makes a trip overseas to Europe.

Some have said one can make a great life overseas, but the problem is what will a player do after finishing playing in Europe? It has been stated that many oversea leagues do not guarantee contracts or have the up-front money like the NBA does. There are obstacles in this oversea lifestyle including the obvious ones of travel, language, culture, and basketball style that is fitted to European players.

Here is an article from Brandon Jennings who went overseas instead of playing college basketball: Brandon Jennings talks playing overseas.

Would Manny be happy playing overseas? Can he enjoy playing so far away from his family? One reason Manny kept his commitment to Michigan was so his family could come to most of his games.

Hopefully he can get drafted by an NBA team immediately and make the roster, because it is very difficult to keep fighting to make a dream happen over an extended time, as more and more players join NBA rosters which provides less and less opportunity for players originally overlooked (undrafted) or cut.

Red Berenson has previously discussed players leaving early to fulfill a dream of playing professionally. He said that if a player can leave and make a pro roster, then fine – leave: but if a player leaves and has to play in the minor leagues after forfeiting college eligibility, then it probably was not a very good move because college provides a great opportunity to refine a player’s game, allowing for improvement in a secure environment. Red, like every astute college coach always underscores the reality of finishing a degree program, in case a player does not succeed at the professional level, an injury ends a career prematurely, or the money eventually stops flowing.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

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