Photo credit: Ann Arbor.com
It’s finally official. Harris announced at his press conference today that he will enter the NBA draft and has no plans of returning to Michigan. Harris has not yet hired an agent but plans to do so in the near future.
Here are the quotes from the U-M Athletic Department press release:
“After long discussions with the U-M staff and my family and friends, I have decided to pursue my dream of professional basketball and leave U-M early for the NBA,” said Harris. “It is important for me to thank the University of Michigan, Coach Beilein and his staff, my teammates, my professors, as well as all those in the athletic department who have helped me over the last three years. My growth as a person and player wouldn’t have been possible without them.
“I will always appreciate the college game and what it has done for me, but playing professional basketball has always been a goal and I feel it is the best time to pursue that. I will always be a Michigan Wolverine at heart and bleed Maize and Blue forever.”
“Manny believes it is his time to move on to the NBA and we fully support him,” said U-M coach John Beilein. “It was a tough decision for him and we are prepared to assist him in every way we can as he begins this new chapter in his life. Manny has assured us he plans on successfully finishing this semester, which would put him in a position to graduate from Michigan with just one more academic year.”
“In three short years, Manny has compiled outstanding career numbers in points, rebounds, assists and steals — milestones many very good players do not reach during a four-year career. I have many fond memories of Manny’s time at Michigan. He has been clutch in so many big wins we certainly will miss him however we wish him nothing but the best in his professional basketball career and beyond.”
This amplifies the importance of landing at least one more wing player in the class of 2010. The two targets remaining on Michigan’s board for 2010 are Mt. Pleasant guard Trey Zeigler and Detroit Denby’s Isaiah Sykes. Looking at the scholarship breakdown you can see that Harris’ departure has little effect on the situation because any scholarships used in 2010 will count against the 2011 class.