Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gary Harris or Nik Stauskas - Who is this state's best college basketball player?

It wouldn't have been much of a debate coming into the season. Michigan State's Gary Harris was, by far, a better and by more complete player than Michigan's Nik Stauskas when both were freshmen last season.
Nik Stauskas
Gary Harris
Although Stauskas did play a solid role in Michigan's run to the NCAA title game as a freshman, he was third on the list of Wolverines' freshmen, behind Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III. Harris starred at MSU from Day One, and has still been a force this year.
But it does seem look like Stauskas has passed him. With McGary out for the season, Robinson not making a significant improvement and Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. in the NBA, Stauskas has emerged as the leading candidate for Big Ten Player of the Year.
Statistically, they are about even. And it wasn't like Harris didn't have productive games against Michigan. He did. But it was Stauskas who did a better job of imposing his will in those victories for the Wolverines, who sit alone atop the Big Ten standings.
I still think Harris is the better NBA prospect, but Stauskas is a unique talent because he is an exceptional shooter and athletic.
There are others who can enter into this debate. Michigan State's Adreian Payne looked a national player of the year candidate before he hurt his foot. This week off for Payne and the banged up Spartans is much needed. Expect Payne to rebound. You can't dismiss Caris Levert's emergence at Michigan or what Travis Bader has done at Oakland under difficult circumstances. But currently, Stauskas is the best college player in this state, something that would have been a longshot when the season began.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kartikeya said...

Great post Marc. Although you made some valid points, I think that you were wrong in saying that Nik Stauskas is a better player than Gary Harris. You said that Nik Stauskas played better than Gary Harris in the Michigan State at Michigan game. While this is true, it is only because Gary Harris had an off game, which can happen to any player. I have watched many of MSU’s basketball games this year, and from what I have seen, Gary Harris is a better player on offense and defense. In fact, Harris is one of the best defenders in the conference. Although I think it is close, Gary Harris is a better player than Nik Stauskas.

4:21 PM 
Blogger Michael said...

I agree....I think Harris has far more pro potential then Stauskas.

3:26 PM 

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