Spartan Nation Exclusive: Tom Izzo Adds WVU Transfer Eron Harris to his arsenal of new Weapons & the New Spartan Discusses it with us!
Q: What was it about Michigan State and Tom Izzo that made you want to make it home?
A: Well, I introduced to him what my aspirations wereâ€¦what my aspirations were as a man as well as for the rest of my life, and his plan for me just matched up. So I just felt like I didnâ€™t have to go anywhere else. He reached out to me and touched me in a place that hasnâ€™t been touched by a coach, you know? It appeals to me that heavily, and it appeals to my parents that heavily. Iâ€™m talking to him and I looked him in his eyes and sat down and talked to this guy about my basketball and life, because itâ€™s not just about basketball. Itâ€™s about how Iâ€™m gonna grow as a man, a person, life values, all that. Itâ€™s about all of that and I think Izzo has all of that. Thatâ€™s why I admire him so much.
Q: How much did you appreciate that Izzo didnâ€™t try to push you, and he not only recruited you but he spent time to get to know your family too?
A: Yes, yes. Well, you know what, manâ€¦ I canâ€™t even explain how different he is from all of the people that I encountered, all the coaches that Iâ€™ve encountered. He really does put an effort forth to reach out, not only me but to the people thatâ€™s around me. Heâ€™s very smart. Not only is he a great guy, heâ€™s very smart. So he knows that if heâ€™s gonna deal with a person, that the reality is heâ€™s influenced by other people too. You know what Iâ€™m saying? He doesnâ€™t just have a mind of his own, heâ€™s influenced by the people around him. So he wants to know whoâ€™s around a guy. He wants to get close to the people thatâ€™s around that guy. Thatâ€™s why he takes into account who Iâ€™m close to. My parents, my buddiesâ€¦ He took time out to talk to a couple of my buddies. You know what Iâ€™m saying? That right there was just so different and impressive. It all made sense to me.
Q: Your dad told me that when you got your letter of release from West Virginia, Izzo had two phone numbers for your family. The first one he called was you and he was like, Oops. Sorry, I meant to call your dad first. So he calls your dad and apologizes that he called you before him. Your dad said he really appreciated that he had enough respect for your family to not want to talk to you before he talked to them. Did you appreciate that as well?
A: I did. I did appreciate that, because what my dad has taught me is that as a young man you must respect your father. Right now my dad is living for me, you know what Iâ€™m saying? So I have the utmost respect for my dad and I think my dad deserves the utmost respect from the people who are gonna deal with me at this point in my life. So I did appreciate the fact that he wanted to reach out to my dad, who is my caretaker. I appreciate that. That was also a different thing for me.
Q: Are you gonna be a sophomore, juniorâ€¦because thereâ€™s been different reports. What are you gonna be when you get to Michigan State?
A: Iâ€™m gonna be a junior academically, but after my redshirt I will have two years remaining.
Q: So youâ€™re saying youâ€™ll be a junior academically, youâ€™ll sit out a year for redshirt, but youâ€™ll have two years to play. Is that correct?
Q: Yes, sir.
Q: The Times of West Virginia wrote a story and said this, “Itâ€™s interesting heâ€, and theyâ€™re talking about you, â€œshould wind up under Tom Izzo at Michigan State, who may be the only coach in America as intense as Huggins and also stresses defense as strongly as Huggins. Hugginsâ€™ biggest problem with Harris was his defensive play.” For your critics that said you didnâ€™t want to play defense or couldnâ€™t handle tough coaching, you know what Tom Izzo is likeâ€¦are we gonna see an Eron Harris that likes to play defense and can handle tough coaching?
A: Yes, sir. That is my goal. That is my goalâ€¦which is to be an all-around player. I wanna be able to deal with all types of people. The guy, who ever wrote the article, does not know me personally. He did not take time to sit down with me and talk to me about that issue, so whether or not people want to feed off of that, they can make that choice. But as it pertains to me, this is me talking and I want to say that Iâ€™m gonna put my 100% all into the opportunity that has been given and put in front of me. Iâ€™m blessed to be in this position, so I will not do anything to mess that up. Iâ€™m 100% motivated to win championships and be a good teammate to my teammates and be a coachable player to the coach and make it to the next level. And thatâ€™s what I promise.
Q: What is the best part of your game? Where are you most NBA-ready?
A: I would say my jump shot is one of the best parts of my game. Another part of my game that is NBA-ready that a lot of people havenâ€™t gotten to see yet is the way I distribute the ball. Point guard is what I grew up playing, and at this point in my life I understand basketball to the point that I can see when people are open. I feel like Iâ€™m a good passer and (??). Iâ€™ve just really been focusing on seeing guys and getting open and making the right passes and making the right decisions.
Q: So scoring is a strong area, and the second one is the way you distribute the ball because you used to play point guard, correct?
A: Yeah, and itâ€™s not so much because I played point guard, itâ€™s because of my understanding and what I see on the court. I think thatâ€™s just what it is. I donâ€™t thinkâ€¦ My years of childhood play I didnâ€™t play point guard. So thatâ€™s not what everybody saw me as. You know what Iâ€™m saying? But I think that in the years coming itâ€™s not gonna matter what position I play. I feel like if you understand the game and you have the ball in your hands youâ€™re gonna be able to make the right decision. The positions that people put titles on is just a title, you know what Iâ€™m saying?
Q: What do you have to get better at in your three years on campus at Michigan State, two years that you can play? What do you have to learn from Tom Izzo to get to the league?
A: Heâ€™s gonna work with me on my footwork. On my footwork, especially on defense, heâ€™s gonna help me with that. Heâ€™s also gonna watch a lot of film with me, which I donâ€™t really have a history of watching too much. He stressed to me that thatâ€™s gonna be very important so I can see the floor a little bit better. And then Iâ€™m gonna put on some weight. Iâ€™m gonna put on a little bit of weight, so Iâ€™m gonna get a little bit thicker. When I come back Iâ€™m gonna be dominant in that sense. And also, if I can say one more thing, Iâ€™m just gonna continue to progress on my jump shot. I wanna be almost 100%. When it leaves my hand I want people to know itâ€™s gonna go.
Q: What does it mean to you to be part of a program like Michigan State?
A: Well, what it means to me is Iâ€™m aware of the history of the program, especially under Izzo. I know that thereâ€™s a lot that Iâ€™m gonna have to hold up to. I donâ€™t wanna be pressuredâ€¦I donâ€™t feel any pressure; all I feel is an obligation to do well. And I donâ€™t think that thereâ€™s any way I wonâ€™t. I just wanna continue that history, thatâ€™s all. Like I said, Iâ€™m blessed to be a part of it. So thatâ€™s all I got to say about that.
Q: Youâ€™re a terrific young man, character and talent. Congratulations on your decision. Welcome to the Spartan Nation, Eron.
A: Thank you. I appreciate it.