EAST LANSING, Mich.
– Michigan State’s coming to Indianapolis and that means MSU guard and Indianapolis native Eron Harris is coming home, a triumphant return for a Final Four showdown with Duke … that he will probably watch on TV at home.
“Or Buffalo Wild Wings. Something,” Harris said. “Doesn’t matter as long as I’ve got my people there.”
Harris is a transfer from West Virginia, sitting out this season by NCAA rule, and that means he can’t travel with the Spartans. The Lawrence North product will drive to Indy by himself and expects to get together with dozens of family members and friends to cheer on MSU (27-11) against Duke (33-4) in the national semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium (6 p.m., CBS).
He was looking at tickets, but they’re pricey. And he’s used to the routine by now of spilling all he has in practice to get the Spartans ready, then watching from afar. On Tuesday in practice, he emulated Duke point guard Tyus Jones and did all he could to defensively hound and harass MSU senior guard Travis Trice.
“I was working on my defense but at the same time I was helping out Trav, making him better,” said Harris, who averaged 17.2 points a game as a sophomore at West Virginia last season.
“Special player, special player — I can’t wait to play with him,” MSU freshman point guard Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn said of Harris, who likely will share point guard duties with him next season. “It’s hard being in this position, man … and this kid, he gives 110% every single day, no matter what it is we do. And he knows he’s not suiting up, so he means a lot to the team. I think he’s helped us out a lot in terms of what he does in practice being tough to defend. Because I don’t think there’s another player like him in the Big Ten.”
Harris said he watched Sunday’s Elite Eight win over Louisville alone at his place in East Lansing and “let my emotions go.”
“I have so much love, I love these guys,” Harris said. “I got tears of happiness, because I’m happy that they won this and they got this opportunity. But at the same time, happy for myself too, being a part of this.”
Next year, he’ll be a much bigger part of it.