You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

Ex-Michigan basketball guard Darius Morris re-signs with the Lakers, Cavaliers waive Manny Harris

By Nick Baumgardner


Former Michigan basketball star Darius Morris re-signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.

Melanie Maxwell |

One former Michigan basketball guard is staying put, while another will be looking for work.

The Los Angeles Lakers offered former Wolverine Darius Morris a qualifying offer over the weekend, and per Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears, Morris has accepted -- signing a one-year deal to remain with the team for next season.

Former Wolverine Manny Harris, meanwhile, was officially released by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday -- ending a two-year stint with the club.

According to Yahoo!'s report, Morris will be paid $962,000 by the Lakers for next season.

During a season-ending interview with the Los Angeles media in May, Morris expressed his desire to remain in Los Angeles, but also seemed guarded about his future -- saying he definitely had a desire to play more than he did during his rookie season.

"I love it here in L.A.," Morris said at the time. "But being a young player, it's really important to be somewhere you feel you have an opportunity to play and get to grow on the court, most importantly.

"We'll see what happens."

Thumbnail image for MannyHarris_Cleveland.jpg

Former Wolverine Manny Harris was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.

Cleveland Plain Dealer

The 6-foot-4 Morris broke Michigan's single-season assist record as a sophomore in 2010-11. He eventually opted to forego his final two years of eligibility in Ann Arbor, though, and was drafted by the Lakers in the second round (41st overall) in the second round of the 2011 draft.

His first NBA season wasn't exactly ideal, as he appeared in just 19 games, averaging 2.4 points and 1.1 assists in 8.9 minutes per game.

Morris found himself in a bit of a point guard logjam in Los Angeles last year, beginning the year behind veterans Derek Fisher and Steve Blake, and eventually ending it behind newly acquired lead guard Ramon Sessions.

Morris also saw less action than fellow rookie guard Andrew Goudelock, who was also chosen by Los Angeles in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Harris, meanwhile, appeared in 80 games with Cleveland over a two-year span. Last season, the 6-foot-5 Harris got off to a rocky start after suffering a severe freezer burn on his foot in the preseason -- which eventually led to his release.

Harris was eventually brought back by the Cavs, and finished the season with the club -- averaging 6.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 26 appearances.

During last week's 2012 NBA draft, the Cavaliers chose ex-Syracuse shooting guard Dion Waiters at No. 4 overall, a move that would have likely cut into Harris' minutes even more.

The Detroit native opted to leave Michigan after his junior season (2009-10). During his three-year career, Harris averaged 17 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He finished his career at No. 10 on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,668 points.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

Want to stay connected to Wolverine basketball in your Facebook newsfeed? “Like”'s Michigan Basketball News & Views.



Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

Interesting debate, stay or go early. It is true that a contract like Morris got would probably make 90% of college students leave for a job that paid like that, you can always go back and finish your degree. Overall though I side with the idea of staying which I think is more beneficial. I disagree with ITJG who has to use the over used kool aid insult to prove his point. Players do develop in college, that is why their statistics almost always improve year after year. I think players are being mislead by people who tell them they are ready for the NBA, I think what they are really saying is, "you can make a team right now," but that does not mean they will last long or last ten years which I believe is the pension limit. I base this on the majority of players who left Michigan and went early. It seems most do not last long. It takes special talent to last in the NBA if you enter at a young age. But it is hard to blame them. Even if you don't make the NBA playing in Europe can return a fairly good paycheck, better than most college graduate get and you get to see the world.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 2:28 a.m.

Ask Sullinger if he regrets staying, I'm sure he'll tell you the truth and say I'm glad I stayed that extra year, I really matured, yada, yada, yada... Agreed people that show NBA talent should improve statistically in college should they stay, but if they take that chance and don't, guess what, more money lost. I believe anyone interested in entering the draft has the option to have an independent evaluation of their talent level and a best guess estimate of where they might end in the draft should they enter. I believe that's what Trey Burke did and obviously he didn't like what he heard but at least the advice was good and he is headed back. Some people are willing to take advice others not so much. In my opinion Sullinger got the bad advice, come back to school improve your stock, oops. If your a top 5 pick take the money and run. The vesting requirement for an NBA pension is 3 years, yep 3, pretty good except when you look at the league as a whole and see the average career length is somewhere between 5 and 6 years. So (1) more year and Manny is vested, not to shabby for a guy that's an 11th or 12th man on an NBA team. P.S. The kool-aid quote was not used as an insult, it was used as a reference that all 3 posters thought the same, staying in school is the end all and be all, and I didn't agree with any of them.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

True enough that these salaries are WAY above what any other college graduate gets (and without overriding debts from college, too); Problem is that it is a very short career with lots of access to bad things (hangers-on, drugs, parties, etc). So unlike most college grads who will work and have their salaries go up over time, or go to grad school to get an advanced degree, these guys leaving early are often out of the game by 25 and then what? Going back to college is easy to say, but few if any do it. Jalen Rose is a notable exception. Did Webber ever do it? And then, how much socialization can they possibly have with people 4 to 8 years younger than them? I just come at it from an education perspective--classroom and maturity education. The sports skills are important to develop too, but that's not the total point.

Blue Marker

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

Yeah, Jonestown was a long time ago...time to let the Kool-Aid thing go. I wonder how many young people even know the origin. Anyway, I disagree with kids developing faster in college. I'm sure the NBA-D league has just as fine of coaches as the NCAA has. Most "tweener" types will have to spend time in the minor leagues. I don't think Morris thought he was going to be playing along side Kobe in the next year or two. The only reason I see to stay is for a degree (which I think is an excellent reason if you want it) but sadly, most kids don't think they need it.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

To improve the quality of college basketball programs, a competitive player incentive program, similar to the professional, is needed. This will improve the both athletic programs and the players' graduation rate. There is nothing wrong about paying people based on their performance and helping them to stay in school, if that is what you think the best for them.

Ted Bundy

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

Well if you stay in school, you could become the fate of MSU guard Kalin Lucas...


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

Who probably will still make more money longterm than Manny Harris.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 2:17 a.m.

Billybob, michboy, and goofus must all be drinking the same kool-aid. Both these guys did right by leaving when they did, staying in school was not going to make them any better than they already were, how can one develop when overall the talent level just isn't there, as it is in the NBA. What you fail to realize is after the first (5) and in extreme cases the first (10) picks, the draft is more about potential less about talent. Take Jared Sullinger for example in this years draft, great potential, last year great talent, would have been a lottery pick, but no stayed in school, up popped a back problem and guess what, more than likely he will never recoup the millions he left on the table last year. Hopefully Manny is being smart and stashing some of the money he's made the past few years, his lot in the NBA has been cast an 11th or 12th man on the bench of any NBA team, not to shabby in my opinion for someone who was never going to get a degree, especially one that has paid him as well as leaving early has. Darius, he is still young enough and obviously has potential if LA is willing to pay him just short of 1 mil for a years work, they must see something, hopefully in a couple years he will have that bigger payday but once again its all about potential that will only develop playing against NBA talent, not against most college kids who play to get a free education.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 11:31 p.m.

Kool aid? Manny's career has been a joke. There's no kool aid being drunk there. He probably would've made more money finishing school and playing in Europe.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

You hit the nail on the head. There was absolutely no reason for Morris or Harris to extend their athletics career at other than to get a degree which I don't think either of these players was that motivated to do. Guarentee this will be Burke's last year and if Hardaway had an outstanding sophomore year, he would have been gone. Let's stop playing college is good for you line when we know this our best interest we are looking at and not the athlete. Do you really think Dave Brandon is concerned about these athletes above and beyond what is required by the NCAA which is also a hypocritical organization.

Blue Marker

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

If a son leaves college because he wants' to be an apprentice in his dad's trade I don't think people would have a problem with that. Yet if a young man leaves someone's favorite team early they're "foolish". Isn't part of growing up finding a good job? Nobody knows what would have happened to either of these guys had they stayed at Michigan. I wonder how many of the commenter's would pass up a six-figure job to stay in school?


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

What is freezer burn? Is that actually frostbite?? Was that from a therapy or was Manny Harris actually in a freezer? For both guys--the predictions when they left were that they would struggle to catch on with teams and that they needed more seasoning. I wonder whether another year of college for both would have helped them grow also off the court...College does that which is why you don't enter the working world at the age of 20 most of the time.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

oh manny...manny. You've become a cautionary tale on what not to do when it comes to declaring for the draft...


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

Yup, money is the pull Billy Bob. Too bad both of these guys short sided themselves. If they would have stayed at Michigan, they would have developed their games and become much higher draft picks. They would be signing multi year deals worth significantly more than $960,000, and they would have playing basketball vs. Sitting on the end of an nba bench...


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

Unfortunately, Burke will probably follow in those footsteps after this season

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

Good luck, guys. I surely do wish money power wasn't such a strong pull, both for the schools and for the players. Another year or two might make a difference. Still, a million bucks a year in the year that would have been your senior year is a strong pull. Best wishes to both young Michigan stars.