Michigan State’s Gary Harris (14) gets a steal against Michigan’s Nik Stauskas on Jan. 25, 2014, in East Lansing. / Associated Press
CHICAGO — The day before the NBA pre-draft combine, Gary Harris was told by his agent he shouldn’t participate in the on-court drills.
So the only impression from the former Michigan State star on Thursday could make his measurements, surprising many at just 6-foot-2 1/2 without shoes, short for a potential shooting guard.
“I was measuring 6-4½ in shoes and I don’t think I have 2½ inch soles in my shoes,” he said at Quest Multisport Complex, also weighing in at 204.8 pounds. “I don’t know what’s going on with that but at least I’m not playing barefoot I guess.”
He’s not worried about it affecting his stock.
“The misconception would probably be the height issue,” he said. “I’ve played against bigger guards in the Big Ten all year and I was able to hold my own. I know it’s a different level. Just because I may not be a typical size for an NBA two-guard I can still go out there and compete.”
He has bounced around from Los Angeles to Indianapolis for workouts over the past month pushing himself against different competition and trying to prepare. He’ll now shift to Indianapolis again for the near future, near his hometown of Fishers.
The previous MSU players in the draft process have told him “this is the tough part, it seems like it takes forever, but just keep pushing.”
Entering Thursday afternoon, Harris had already met with Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
He said the MSU experience, especially from coach Tom Izzo, will be helpful.
“He taught me a lot that I can use in the NBA,” he said.
OTHER NUMBERS: Former U-M guard Nik Stauskas also had a surprising measurement at 12.1% body fat, which stunned him.
He has been working with Priority Sports in Chicago for a few weeks and said he has never trained harder. Yet, his body fat measurement was higher than anyone else recorded Thursday though not all of the combine participants were listed.
“I’ve been working out hard so I don’t know, maybe it’s baby fat,” he said with a grin.
Michigan regularly tested players’ body fat with a Bod Pod machine that players sit in to get their assessment and Stauskas said he “was always 8%, 7%, and I’m the same weight, jumping the same and running the same.”
On Thursday, the NBA assessors used a caliper to pinch Stauskas in three different areas of his skin for its evaluation.
HeBut he has faith that he can answer that, even as soon as today during the individual testing, when he expects to show off a surprising vertical leap, possibly over 35 inches or more.
One positive for Stauskas: He measured 6-foot-5¼ without shoes, which would be very impressive if he can prove he’s a point guard.
SHOOTING STRONG: Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III was the only Spartan or Wolverine to go through the on-court drills on Thursday.
He knows that his outside shot will either vault him up draft boards or keep him as a second-round projection. So Thursday likely helped him, as he hit 31-of-50 shots, taking five shots at each position around the arc, making more than any of the six small forwards who participated.
“It felt good in all the shooting drills that we did,” Robinson said. “I shot the ball pretty well except for the last one and a little bit in the one-on-one. … I felt I went out and really competed.”
HARRIS ON IZZO: Harris said he can see coach Tom Izzo coaching in the NBA.
“Eventually,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to happen this year, but you never know. I fell like whatever he decides to do, he’s going to be just fine, regardless.”
Harris doesn’t think the coach’s role changing from college to the NBA would disrupt Izzo.
“Izzo, he knows how to adapt, he knows how to adjust to situations,” Harris said. “He can coach a college team, a high school team, and NBA team.”
NOTEBOOK: Other measurements for former U-M/MSU players: Adreian Payne was 6-9 without shoes, the fifth-tallest player, he weighed 238.5 pounds, his wingspan tied for third at 7-4. Robinson was 6-5½, 211.4 pounds. … Former Rochester and Troy High School player James Young made the day’s fashion statement, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt that said “Detroit Bad Boys — revived.” “Everywhere I go I support Detroit, I was born and raised there,” said Young, whose family lives in Auburn Hills.