When University of Michigan standout Manny Harris declared for the 2010 NBA Draft, going undrafted wasn't in his mind.
Many NBA projections had him as a early to mid second round pick, which was good enough for the junior to leave college early.
Harris knew that he was leaving college with what some scouts refer to as a "red flag," but he was determined to prove these scouts and many NBA executives wrong.
After being suspended by Michigan head coach John Beilein for "using poor judgement" during the season, Harris added more reason for concern by injuring his ankle.
Outside of the negatives, Manny Harris had shown an amazing ability to score at the University of Michigan, becoming one of just three players in their history to score 1,600 points in his career, which he did in just three seasons.
But the NBA scouts must have seen the red flags as too much of a problem to draft the talented Manny Harris, as he went undrafted.
While that was a bad thing for Harris, it might have just been a blessing in disguise for the Cleveland Cavaliers who quickly invited Harris to become a member of their summer team in Las Vegas.
Harris saw little action in the summer league due to that injured ankle, but the Cavaliers liked him enough to invite him to the team as a non-guaranteed contract invite.
When the preseason rosters first came out, Harris' name popped out to me.
He plays a position, shooting guard, that has lacked offensive production throughout the years for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The team has a large amount of back court players on the roster, but none who have proven to be very effective in the scoring aspect of their game.
Current starter Anthony Parker was brought over through free agency last season to provide a scoring spark and defensive presence on the wing for the Cavaliers.
Not only did Parker fail to provide an offensive bpark, but he also averaged a career low as a starter, 7.3 points per game.
The other players at the shooting guard position are Danny Green, a second year player from the University of North Carolina, and 2009 first round pick Christian Eyenga.
Eyenga seems better suited for the small forward position in the NBA due to his long wing span that reminds people of Luol Deng, but for now he is competing for the shooting guard position.
All of these players have received a solid distribution of the minutes at the shooting guard position through four preseason games, but it is Manny Harris who has shown the ability to have the largest amount of production.
Cavaliers coach Byron Scott was quoted after last night's win over Dallas saying that "Manny has a lot of upside. He just turned 21-years old a couple of weeks ago. At 6-4, 6-5 he's very athletic, a very good defender, hounds the ball pretty well, makes pretty good decisions."
Scott also said, "He did a heck of a job, made some plays for us down the stretch, did a really good job defensively of just locking people down and doing some things we talked about doing, getting some big-time steals, very active and aggressive on that end of the floor."
Those are pretty strong comments from a coach who normally isn't too high on rookie players, especially those who have gone undrafted.
Through four preseason games these are the numbers for the four prospective shooting guard players:
Parker: 87 min, 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 5 turnovers, 4 personal fouls
Eyenga: 42 min, 17 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 4 personal fouls
Harris: 54 min, 31 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 6 steals, 4 turnovers, 3 personal fouls
Green: 42 min, 5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals, 6 turnovers, 5 personal fouls
As you can see, Harris has completely dominated the other three players in points scored, assists and steals.
In a head to head match-up with current starter Anthony Parker, there is really not a comparison between the two players' statistics: Harris has the upper hand.
Many people will claim it is the quality of players that the two are playing against, but in last night's game Harris was inserted in the game early and had to go up against the likes of Dirk, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Caron Butler.
From undrafted rookie free agent to preseason and training camp standout, Manny Harris is really making a name for himself as No. 6 for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With just four preseason games left to prove that he should received a guaranteed contract for the 2010-11 season, Harris is grabbing every opportunity that Coach Scott is giving him and turning it into another reason to keep him.
After watching Manny Harris' emergence as a productive part of the team this preseason, there is only one ending for this situation.
And that is giving Manny Harris a roster spot and making him a member of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers team.
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