Coming off quiet performances in the opening game against Valparaiso, Michigan State stars Gary Harris and Adreian Payne needed to come out balling against Memphis to keep the helium in their respective draft stocks.
Many points and blocks later, Harris and Payne did exactly that in the Spartans' 70-48 win over the Tigers on Saturday.
Currently the only two Michigan State players really getting legitimate attention from NBA draft guys, Harris and Payne disappointed in the team's 65-54 win over No. 14 seed Valpo in the opening game. Solid performances from Derrick Nix and Keith Appling powered the Spartans to victory as their best pro prospects underwhelmed.
Against Memphis, Harris and Payne did more than lead their team to victory. They presumably impressed some NBA scouts along the way, as well.
A freshman guard with size and touch, Harris showed off an array of impressive moves against the Tigers. From three-pointers to drawing fouls, Harris often looked exactly like the kind of complementary scorer GMs seek these days. Considering he's 6'4 and doesn't turn 19 until September, it's easy to see why teams are starting to buy in.
Payne can't be projected in the same way as Harris, considering he's already 22, but the skills he displayed on Saturday could translate to the NBA. Finishing with 14 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, it was a huge improvement from his turnover-ridden performance against the Commodores.
From the sweet mid-range jumper to the instincts near the basket, Payne looks highly intriguing as a big man capable of stretching the defense with his shot.
At the moment, Harris is rated as the No. 23 prospect this year by Draft Express, while Payne comes in at No. 47. Fellow teammate Branden Dawson is ranked No. 72, but he did little to help his stock against Memphis with just one point and four turnovers.