Manny Harris - College - Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year

Top: Harris shoots a free throw versus Ohio State. (2009-01-17); Bottom: Harris looks over head coach John Beilein's shoulder in the huddle. (2009-01-04)

As a 2008–09 first team pre-season All-Big Ten player, he was the first Wolverine to earn the honor since Daniel Horton in 2004. Although he was the leading returning scorer and top draft prospect, Purdue's Robbie Hummel was named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year. Preseason All-Big Ten status has not always led to regular season honors. In both 2005 and 2007, only two preseason selections made the regular season team. Harris opened the 2008–09 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball season with a career-high 30 points in a 77–55 victory over Michigan Tech on November 11. The following night in the second game of the Coaches vs. cancer classic, Harris nearly posted a triple double when he posted 26 points, and career-highs with 10 rebounds and 8 assists in a 76–56 win against Northeastern University. This quick start earned Harris the November 17, 2008 Big Ten Player of the Week Award. Harris led the Big Ten Conference in scoring until the second to last game of the preconference schedule when he snapped a ten-game double digit scoring streak. Throughout the season, he continued to battle with fellow sophomores Evan Turner and Talor Battle for the Big Ten scoring leadership. On February 5, Harris was selected along with Kalin Lucas as one of only two Big Ten John R. Wooden Award 2008–09 Midseason Top 30 Candidates. On March 5, the National Association of Basketball Coaches honored Harris as a District 7 (Big Ten) first-team selection along with four other sophomores (Lucas, Turner, Battle, and JaJuan Johnson). On March 9 after the conclusion of the 2008–09 Big Ten Conference men's basketball season, he was named to the first team All-Big Ten by both the Big Ten coaches and the Big Ten media along with the same four sophomores. He was also chosen on March 10 by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association for its 2008–09 Men's Division I District V (OH, IN, IL, MI, MN, WI) Team, based on voting from its national membership. On March 26 Harris was honored as one of four Michigan men's basketball Winter Sports Big Ten Academic All-Conference selections.

Iowa Hawkeyes freshman Matt Gatens completed the 2008–2009 season with 75/83 90.4% Free Throw shooting percentage in 32 games. However, a common threshold for eligibility for such a statistical championship is 2.5 free throws made per game and 75% of team games played, leaving him five free throws short of eligibility. Thus, Harris, at 86.3% (176/204), was the Big Ten leader among those with a qualifying number of attempts according to some sources. However, the Big Ten Conference recognizes only two Free Throws made per game as the threshold. Nonetheless, the NCAA recognizes a 2.5 attempts per game minimum. Thus, according to the Big Ten Gatens is the Conference Free Throw Champion and according the NCAA Harris is the champion. Harris led the Wolverines in points, minutes, assists and steals. Additionally, Harris finished one behind teammate DeShawn Sims for the team leadership rebounds. In the Big Ten, Harris ranked first (or second depending on the source) in free throw percentage, first in free throws made, second in points per game, fifth in assists per game, and sixth in rebounds per game. Harris and Evan Turner (who led the Big Ten in scoring) were the only Big Ten players to finish in the conference's top 10 in total points, rebounds, assists, and steals. They are the 4th and 5th players in conference history to finish in the top ten in average points, rebounds, and assists since assists became a statistic in 1983–84, following Steve Smith, Jim Jackson, and Brian Evans. Of these five, Harris was the only one to finish in the top six in each stat prior to Turner's 2009-10 season.

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