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Gary Harris is returning to Michigan State

Apr 18, 2013, 1:12 PM EDT

Gary Harris

Michigan State got some big news on Thursday afternoon as star freshman Gary Harris has announced that he will be returning to school for his sophomore season.

He would have been a first round pick had he decided to enter the draft, potentially sneaking up into the lottery. 

“Playing in the NBA is definitely a goal of mine, and something that I’ve always dreamed of, but those dreams can wait for another day,” Harris said in a statement released by the university. “I think additional experience and maturity will be huge in my development as a player. I have other dreams of things I want to accomplish, both as a player and as a team at Michigan State. I love college life, and I’m no hurry to move on.”

“My teammates and I are already excited thinking about next season. I’ve been doing a lot of rehab on my shoulder and it feels stronger already. Last year was a good season for my teammates and me, but we can all improve this summer, and come back for even greater things next year.”

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

Harris averaged 12.9 points on the season and shot 47.2% from three during Big Ten play, doing so despite playing the majority of the season with a bad shoulder that forced him to miss two games. “You haven’t seen the Gary Harris I recruited yet,” head coach Tom Izzo said after Michigan State lost to Duke in the NCAA tournament. 

Perhaps the best news is that it appears that Harris won’t be requiring offseason surgery. He’s already begun rehab, and with a full summer of getting healthy and working on his game, big things are going to be expected in East Lansing next year from him.

The key question now for the Spartans is whether or not Adreian Payne will return. With Derrick Nix graduating, losing Payne would leave the Spartans with a front line that consists of a pair of seldom-used backups and freshman Gavin Schilling. Throw Payne into the mix with Keith Appling, Denzel Valentine, Branden Dawson and Travis Trice, and the Spartans look like a team that can compete for a national title.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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