Izzo leaning go for Harris, stay for Dawson

Michigan State coach says if Harris' stock is as high as where it is expected to be, he would suggest the sophomore guard declares for the NBA Draft. His thoughts on Dawson, though, differ.

Big decisions rest ahead for a pair of Michigan State's underclassmen.

On Tuesday, coach Tom Izzo said he is leaning on advising in different directions on guard Gary Harris and forward Branden Dawson.

Izzo will do his usual legwork on their behalf with NBA general managers and the like to see what the views of the pair of players are. In the case of Harris, if his stock is as high as it is expected to be, Izzo believes Harris should declare for the NBA Draft. For Dawson, Izzo is leaning toward another year in college being beneficial to the forward.

With his status expected to be as a lottery pick after electing to return following his freshman year, Izzo said it makes his advice pretty easy to Harris.

"When it's that high, my advice over the years has been, ‘If you're ready mentally, you should go,'" Izzo said.

A decision should be made in the next two weeks for the Fishers, Ind. native, based on research done by Izzo and Harris' parents. If everything comes back as cementing his status as one of the top guards in the draft, the advice will be to go.

"He could surprise me like (Adreian Payne) did but I think he's gonna be a very solid pick," he said. "If all those stats came out, I'd be leaning to advising him ‘It's time to make the jump.'"

The shooting guard averaged 16.7 points and 4.0 rebounds this season and was named first-team All-Big Ten.

His decision should be all based on basketball, as Izzo noted Harris is a good student, not in need of the money and genuinely enjoys college.

The love of college and his teammates, particularly Denzel Valentine, did lead Izzo to say Harris is "torn" with the decision ahead of him.

As for Dawson, Izzo sees a different picture. He sees a similar situation to where Payne was last year when he decided to come back to school for his senior year.

"I think he's just starting to get there," Izzo said. "Like A.P. last year to be honest with you."

The junior did not finish quite as strongly as Izzo had hoped – at least, the consistency was not there.

"He was playing at one level and then, sometimes it's, what did you do for me today?" Izzo said. "He didn't finish quite as strong as I had hoped and kept that going."

Dawson averaged 15.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in his the postseason and was named the Big Ten Tournament MVP.


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