MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Some 77 days after departing the West Virginia basketball program, Eron Harris is expected to announce Monday he’s transferring to Michigan State.
The Indianapolis Star reported the timing of Harris’ decision, which comes on the heels of the guard canceling a weekend visit to Michigan.
The 6-foot-3 Harris emerged as bona fide scorer last season for the Mountaineers, averaging 17.2 points and finishing as the third-best 3-point shooter in the Big 12 at 42.2 percent.
At times his deep range made him seemingly unstoppable. Harris scored 26 of his 28 points after halftime in a 91-85 overtime win vs. Oklahoma on Feb. 5 and tossed in another 28 when the Mountaineers stunned Kansas 92-86 on March 8.
Yet after being lightly recruited out of Lawrence North High in Indianapolis, he also struggled with the concept of becoming a go-to guy. Harris failed to reach the free-throw line in three of his last four games, and during West Virginia’s brief stay at the Big 12 tournament, he fouled out with just three points in a 66-49 loss to Texas.
“I have enjoyed my time at West Virginia University the past two years, but I want to transfer closer to home,” Harris said in a statement Match 24. “I want to be closer to my family, especially being around my little brother.”
While Harris made a visit to the Purdue campus about an hour from his home, UCLA and New Mexico also were among the programs he initially considered. The guard’s father said the proximity-to-home factor took a backseat to finding a more compatible coach.
“We respected (West Virginia coach Bob Huggins’) coaching style but it probably wasn’t the best fit,” Eric Harris told The Star on May 7. “Looking for that right fit as far as a coach goes is probably the biggest thing.”
For the sake of geography, East Lansing is closer to Indianapolis (253 miles) than is Morgantown (379 miles). Plus, Harris grew up in the heart of Big Ten country, idolizing powerhouse programs like Michigan State. At the point WVU offered him a scholarship he primarily was receiving interest from mid-majors.
He no doubt sees that Tom Izzo signed no shooting guards in this year’s recruiting class, and has only three-star prospect Kyle Ahrens committed at the position for 2015. All-Big Ten sophomore guard Gary Harris declared for the NBA draft.
Barring an unforeseen NCAA waiver, Harris must sit out next season as a transfer before becoming eligible in the fall of 2015.