“I going to stay and play at Michigan.”
With those words Corperryale "Manny" Harris ended weeks of nervous speculation for Michigan basketball followers everywhere. The pressure had been steadily building for Harris since the firing of Tommy Amaker nearly a month ago. The uncertainty in his mind crescendoed when Mike Jackson left to take an assistant coaching position at Illinois State. The Mr. Basketball recipient was left with a dilemma; stay close to the comfort of home and play in what had suddenly become an unfamiliar situation, or play away from family and friends in a situation that might be a bit more familiar.
So torn was Harris that one day after his meeting with new Michigan headman John Beilein last week, he asked to be released from his letter of intent. It was extremely evident in his almost daily conversations with GoBlueWolverine that it was a very tough decision for a young man. His parents, though ever supportive, wanted to make sure Manny was making the best decision for Manny.
"Well my parents made it tough for me," Harris said. "They told me that I had to make the decision for myself. My mom and dad said they would stand behind any decision I made. I would have been very mad if they had just said, 'go to Michigan.' At the same time, them not making my decision for me made it that much harder for me. I had to make sure it was the right decision for me. I couldn’t worry about what other people thought. I had to get that out of my head because they would have their own opinion for whatever I decided to do. So it came down to me making the right decision for me because I knew my parents were with me no matter what I decided."
After weighing his options, Harris' choice was clear. Whatever uncertainty existed in Ann Arbor was overshadowed by the feeling he has for the Maize & Blue and the opportunity he has to help bring Michigan basketball back to national prominence in front of the family and friends that have always supported him.
"I am going to stay and play at Michigan," he said. "It has more to do with going with my heart. My heart is with Michigan and the opportunity is there."
Another strong factor was undoubtedly Mike Jackson's return to Michigan. John Beilein's newest assistant worked around the clock to help re-secure the prized recruit. His presence was quite likely the tipping point in Harris decision-making process.
"It was a huge difference because he is someone I am familiar with in
the program at Michigan," Harris explained. "It made me feel
more comfortable. He is someone there that I know."
Jackson was one of the first people Harris told within hours of making his choice.
"I just made it a couple of hours ago (between 7 and 8 pm yesterday evening)," Harris said. "I told Coach Walker (Durand “Speedy” Walker, Manny’s AAU coach from "The Family") and then I told Coach Jackson. He was really happy and very excited that I was going to stay and attend Michigan. Coach Jackson said that he knew deep in his heart that I would make the right decision."
With future plans now determined, Harris is focused on getting more acclimated with his future head coach and the system that he plans to implement in Ann Arbor. Thus far, Harris has been extremely impressed.
"I had a good meeting Coach Beilein," Harris said regarding his face time with Michigan's new headman after practice last Wednesday. "He had seen tape of me and told me about my game. I really liked the fact that he knew about my game. He went the extra mile to know about me and see me play. Coach Beilein said he would have me at the guard position and we talked about how I fit into his style of play. I really enjoyed what he has in store for the program. He is a great coach. With the way he handled my recruitment, it helped keep me at Michigan. I have talked to a lot of people about Coach Beilein and I have heard good things about him."