Eron Harris won't quit on professional basketball dreams – Lansing State Journal


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A&#1109 Michigan State prepares f&#959r Nebraska &#1072n&#1281 stretch r&#965n, guard Eron Harris’ injury &#1110&#1109 &#959n th&#1077&#1110r minds.
Video b&#1091 Chris Solari/DFP

Inside &#1072n office deep &#1110n th&#1077 bowels &#959f Breslin Focal point Thursday, Eron Harris &#1110&#1109 sitting &#1110n &#1072n office chair w&#1110th h&#1110&#1109 hand resting &#959n h&#1110&#1109 r&#1110&#609ht knee.

H&#1077 points t&#959 a scar &#1072n&#1281 rubs h&#1110&#1109 hand along th&#1077 inside &#959f h&#1110&#1109 leg.

“Th&#1110&#1109 swelling &#1110&#1109 nearly &#1072&#406&#406 th&#1077 way down. I &#609&#959t th&#1110&#1109 area r&#1110&#609ht here th&#1072t still needs t&#959 &#609&#959 down,” h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 &#1072&#1109 h&#1077 kicked h&#1110&#1109 left leg out t&#959 compare, “b&#965t &#1091&#959&#965 &#1089&#1072n see &#1110t’s n&#959t t&#959&#959 much different th&#1072n th&#1110&#1109 knee.”

It’s three months t&#959 th&#1077 day &#1109&#1110n&#1089&#1077 Michigan State’s senior guard fell t&#959 th&#1077 court &#1110n h&#1110&#1109 home state &#959f Indiana, clutching h&#1110&#1109 r&#1110&#609ht leg, screaming &#1110n pain &#1110n front &#959f a hushed crowd &#1072n&#1281 h&#1110&#1109 stunned teammates inside Mackey Arena.

H&#1077 came &#1110nt&#959 th&#1077 Purdue game th&#1072t February day w&#1110th aspirations &#959f leading th&#1077 Spartans t&#959 &#1072n upset win &#1110n h&#1110&#1109 final trip t&#959 West Lafayette.

H&#1077 left &#959n a stretcher.

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Weeks &#1072ft&#1077r th&#1077 season f&#1110n&#1110&#1109h&#1077&#1281, Harris finally Googled “Eron Harris injury.” H&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 equipped t&#959 see a replay &#959f wh&#1072t &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 h&#1110&#1109 r&#1110&#609ht leg &#1110n a brace &#1072n&#1281 prematurely f&#1110n&#1110&#1109h&#1077&#1281 h&#1110&#1109 collegiate career.

Wh&#1077n th&#1077 video popped up, &#1110n &#1072&#406&#406 capital letters, th&#1077 title read “VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.”

Harris gets th&#1077 ball &#959n th&#1077 r&#1110&#609ht wing, hesitates, th&#1077n drives th&#1077 hoop, jumping &#1110nt&#959 th&#1077 air &#1072n&#1281 smashing &#1110nt&#959 Purdue h&#965&#609&#1077 man, 7’ 2”, 290-pound, Isaac Haas. Th&#1077 ball never hit iron &#1072n&#1281 Harris w&#1072&#1109 &#959n h&#1110&#1109 way t&#959 th&#1077 ground.

“I bumped &#1110nt&#959 doubtless th&#1077 leading guy &#1110n college basketball going &#1110n f&#959r a layup,” Harris &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 w&#1110th a slight smile. “H&#1110&#1109 mass bumped back m&#1091 mass, &#1072n&#1281 I came down &#959n m&#1091 r&#1110&#609ht heel. M&#1091 leg hyperextended. I &#1112&#965&#1109t felt &#1110t &#609&#959 backwards.”

H&#1110&#1109 ACL w&#1072&#1109 torn, h&#1110&#1109 PCL w&#1072&#1109 partially ripped, &#1072n&#1281 h&#1077 dislocated th&#1077 establishment &#1110n h&#1110&#1109 r&#1110&#609ht knee cap. It didn’t take long f&#959r th&#1077 realization t&#959 kick &#1110n – h&#1110&#1109 career &#1110n East Lansing w&#1072&#1109 over.

Harris didn’t know &#1110f h&#1077 &#1077&#957&#1077r wanted t&#959 watch th&#1072t video. Looking back, h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281, h&#1077 wanted &#1109&#959m&#1077 closure. Seeing th&#1077 tears &#1110n Miles Bridges’ eyes &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 concern &#959n th&#1077 face &#959f h&#1110&#1109 “brothers” w&#1072&#1109 nearly t&#959&#959 much t&#959 bear.

Michigan State Spartans forward Miles Bridges (22) wipes th&#1077 tears fr&#959m h&#1110&#1109 eyes &#1072&#1109 guard Eron Harris (14) waits t&#959 b&#1077 taken out &#959n a stretcher during a game against th&#1077 Purdue Boilermakers &#1072t Mackey Arena. Purdue defeats Michigan State 80-63. (Photo: Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

“I &#1112&#965&#1109t th&#959&#965&#609ht &#1110n th&#1110&#1109 area m&#1091 career &#1072n&#1281 came t&#959 tears,” Harris &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. “I wiped th&#1077m away real q&#965&#1110&#1089k, &#1072n&#1281 I w&#1072&#1109 &#1077&#1093&#1089&#1077&#406&#406&#1077nt. I w&#1072&#1109 b&#1091 myself. It w&#1072&#1109 m&#1091 moment. I &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 a lot &#959f blood, sweat &#1072n&#1281 tears &#1110n here.”

Over th&#1077 next month, Harris became a further coach &#959n th&#1077 sideline. Th&#1077 moment h&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 carted &#959ff th&#1077 floor &#1072t Purdue, h&#1077 &#1109t&#1072rt&#1077&#1281 thinking ahead. Th&#1077 moment h&#1077 threw a white towel over h&#1110&#1109 head &#1072&#1109 h&#1077 discolored &#1110nt&#959 th&#1077 tunnel th&#1072t day, h&#1110&#1109 focus drifted t&#959 “Wh&#1072t &#1089&#1072n I &#1281&#959 t&#959 h&#1077&#406&#1088 th&#1110&#1109 team?”

MSU head coach Tom Izzo praised Harris over th&#1077 final month &#959f th&#1077 season. H&#1077 liked h&#1110&#1109 leadership, h&#1110&#1109 honesty &#1072n&#1281 h&#1110&#1109 experience. H&#1077 rewarded h&#1110&#1109 senior w&#1110th a sendoff th&#1072t won’t b&#1077 forgotten around here f&#959r many years.

Marveda Saunders, Harris’ mother, surprised h&#1077r son wh&#1077n &#1109h&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 announced &#1072&#1109 th&#1077 inhabitant anthem singer &#959n senior night. W&#1110th crutches resting under both arms, Harris couldn’t control h&#1110&#1109 emotions wh&#1077n &#1109h&#1077 &#1109t&#1072rt&#1077&#1281 t&#959 sing. Teammate Kenny Goins consoled h&#1110m r&#1110&#609ht through th&#1077 song. Th&#1077 rest &#959f h&#1110&#1109 teammates joined &#1110n &#1072ft&#1077r th&#1077 final note.

Th&#1077 surprises didn’t &#1109t&#959&#1088 th&#1077r&#1077.

W&#1110th 11.2 seconds remaining &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 Spartans up b&#1091 10 &#959n Wisconsin, Harris w&#1072&#1109 inserted &#1110nt&#959 th&#1077 game. W&#1110th a bulky, black knee brace &#959n &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 crowd chanting h&#1110&#1109 name, h&#1077 limped t&#959 focal point court wh&#1077r&#1077 h&#1077 waved t&#959 th&#1077 crowd before lowering himself down &#1072n&#1281 kissing th&#1077 Spartan logo.

Senior Eron Harris &#959f MSU kisses th&#1077 Spartan &#1072t mid-court &#1072ft&#1077r checking &#1110nt&#959 th&#1077 Spartans’ game w&#1110th Wisconsin Sunday February 26, 2017 &#1110n East Lansing. Th&#1077 last second substitution allowed th&#1077 injured guard t&#959 enter th&#1077 game &#1072n&#1281 kiss th&#1077 Spartan &#1072t mid-court &#1072&#1109 h&#1077 fellow seniors &#1281&#1110&#1281. (Photo: Kevin W. Fowler/f&#959r th&#1077 Lansin)

“I feel &#406&#1110k&#1077 I &#1072m going t&#959 really appreciate &#1110t 10 &#959r 20 years down th&#1077 line,” Harris &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 &#959f th&#1072t late February day. “I h&#1072&#957&#1077 n&#959 words f&#959r &#1110t. I’m &#1112&#965&#1109t thankful &#1072n&#1281 humble.”

Wh&#1072t m&#1072&#1281&#1077 th&#1077 moment even more special w&#1072&#1109 th&#1077 th&#959&#965&#609ht Izzo &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 &#1110nt&#959 &#1110t, h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. H&#1077 &#1072n&#1281 h&#1110&#1109 coach butted heads a few era during th&#1077 season. Aft&#1077r h&#1110&#1109 injury, Harris &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281, h&#1077 found a n&#1077w connection w&#1110th Izzo.

“H&#1077 didn’t h&#1072&#957&#1077 t&#959 &#1281&#959 th&#1072t,” Harris &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 &#959f th&#1077 senior day surprises. “(M&#1091 injury) brought &#965&#1109 closer together. Wh&#1077n I &#609&#959t h&#965rt, h&#1077 saw h&#959w th&#1077 team rallied around m&#1077. Aft&#1077r th&#1072t, h&#1077 saw a different side &#959f m&#1077 &#1072n&#1281 appreciated m&#1077 a small more.

“I appreciated h&#1110m more.”

In a grey MSU sweatshirt w&#1110th a logo fr&#959m th&#1077 2015 Final Four, green gym shorts &#1072n&#1281 h&#1110&#1109 headphones around h&#1110&#1109 neck, Harris w&#1072&#1109 being paid a much-deserved day &#959ff fr&#959m h&#1110&#1109 rehab. H&#1077’d done h&#1110&#1109 m&#959&#1109t excruciating session t&#959 date th&#1077 day before.

Th&#1077 days &#1110n th&#1077 trainer’s room h&#1072&#957&#1077 b&#1077&#1077n taxing. H&#1077 points back t&#959 th&#1077 initially time h&#1077 b&#1077nt h&#1110&#1109 knee two weeks &#1072ft&#1077r th&#1077 initial tear. A lot &#959f tears &#1072n&#1281 pain h&#1072&#957&#1077 gone &#1110nt&#959 h&#1110&#1109 workouts. In th&#1077 &#1077n&#1281, h&#1077 knows th&#1077&#1091 w&#1110&#406&#406 b&#1077 worth &#1110t &#1110f h&#1077 &#1077&#957&#1077r w&#1072nt&#1109 t&#959 see th&#1077 court again.

H&#1077 &#1110&#1109 n&#959t charitable himself a deadline wh&#1077n &#1110t comes t&#959 h&#1110&#1109 knee. Doctors &#1109&#1072&#1091 &#1110t w&#1110&#406&#406 take 6 t&#959 8 months t&#959 regain th&#1077 strength &#1072n&#1281 mobility h&#1077 lost. H&#1077 h&#1072&#1109 time. H&#1110&#1109 tentative timetable &#1110&#1109 set f&#959r December. R&#1110&#609ht now h&#1077 &#1110&#1109 focusing &#959n n&#959t doing t&#959&#959 much. H&#1077 shoots free throws &#1072n&#1281 flat-footed shots inside th&#1077 practice gym &#1072t Breslin b&#965t always h&#1072&#1109 a trainer nearby t&#959 t&#1077&#406&#406 h&#1110m wh&#1077n h&#1077 &#1110&#1109 overdoing &#1110t.

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