When sophomore guard Manny Harris hopped onto the stage at the Four Points Sheraton to receive the Bill Buntin Most Valuable Player award, junior forward DeShawn Sims followed him.
Harris received the award from Michigan coach John Beilein and then handed it to Sims.
“He deserves it,” Harris said.
As the two headed back the seats, Beilein quickly joked, “Can we do that? If both of you come back and stay next year, we’ll let you both have it.”
The big question surrounding the Michigan basketball team at its annual year-end banquet was whether Harris and Sims would be back with the Wolverines next season or bolt to the NBA.
After Michigan’s second-round loss to Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament, it seemed that there was no gray area. Harris and Sims were definitely coming back.
“I love the college game,” Harris said at the time. “I still have a lot of work to do before I make the jump.”
Beilein has insisted all along that his two stars make an educated decision and explore their options.
“It’s sort of a rite of spring where I think they should think about things for a long time,” Beilein said before the banquet. “They should find out where they are and where they would be if they ever did decide to come out. But finding out where you are and coming out are two different things.”
Harris and Sims are being counseled by an advisory board led by Stu Jackson, the NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. The board has been giving the players a sense of where they would stand if they were to enter the NBA draft in late June.
Beilein said he has a feeling of what his players are thinking, but he wouldn’t comment on it.
Harris and Sims said they are a package deal — if one goes, so does the other — and they will make a decision later this week.
If the Wolverines lose Harris and Sims, they will lose 48.3 percent of this past season’s offensive production. Harris was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and Sims was second-team.
When asked what they would do if they were forced to make a decision today, both players said they would be coming back to play at Michigan.