Joy Harris was listening to the words being spoken by another parent’s son when, suddenly, one of her own came into view.

“Wish I was closer to get that picture,” she said.

She had just caught a glimpse of her oldest boy, Michigan State sophomore guard Gary Harris, who was with his teammates for a postgame ceremony honoring a trio of seniors at the Breslin Center.

Joy Harris wished for a camera with a long lens: Arms draped around the taller shoulders of Matt Costello and Denzel Valentine, her son looked like he was hanging from a pair of playground monkey bars.

As senior center Adreian Payne addressed the crowd after the Spartans’ victory over Iowa last Thursday, Joy Harris felt a pang in her heart. A day later, sitting in her family’s home north of Indianapolis, it was still there.

“Not knowing what’s going to happen after the season, I kept thinking, ‘We love this Spartan family,’ ” she said. “I felt it was our moment, too.”

* * *

This is not another will-he-stay-or-go story on Gary Harris. There’ll be no prognosticating by NBA draft insiders. No rumors. No guessing atop all of the second-guessing.

A year ago, Harris elected to return for his sophomore season after being projected as a top-flight lottery pick. Among his accolades was becoming MSU’s first player to win Big Ten freshman of the year.

When Gus Ganakas presented Harris with another honor last year — he was chosen his team’s most valuable player by his teammates — the longtime MSU broadcast analyst was taken aback by something.

“I remember at that banquet thinking, ‘We’ve never had a freshman win the award — not even Magic Johnson,’ ” Ganakas said of Harris, whom he calls Mr. Smooth.

Harris, who’s third in scoring in the Big Ten with 17.5 points per game this season, has been fairly consistent in response when asked if he plans to make himself eligible for the NBA draft in June. He picked up more awards this week, including All-Big Ten first-team honors and again being named his team’s MVP.

“I’ll think about all of that after the season,” said Harris, among the 15 players named as finalists for the Wooden Award, given to the best player in college basketball. “When that time comes, I’ll discuss it and really talk about it and figure out what I want to do. Right now, I’m just focusing on what’s ahead of me.”

At the forefront is the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, where MSU (23-8) will play the winner of today’s first-round game between Iowa and Northwestern at approximately 9 p.m. Friday.

It will mark the first time Harris will be playing at Bankers Life as a college player. It also might be his last.

“Being from around the area and having a chance to go back and play there, well, it’s pretty surreal,” he said.

Harris, 19, was in the crowd at Bankers Life the last time the conference tournament was in Indianapolis in 2012, when the Spartans beat Ohio State for the title. Then a senior at Hamilton Southeastern in nearby Fishers, Ind., he was four months removed from committing to MSU after also making official visits to Indiana, Kentucky and Purdue.

He went to the title game with his father, Gary Harris Sr. He also attended the Spartans’ win over Wisconsin in the semifinals with Brian Satterfield, his varsity basketball coach.

“I had an extra ticket and when I asked him if he wanted to go, Gary didn’t hesitate,” Satterfield said. “He wore a hooded MSU sweatshirt and we were there early so he could see his future teammates warm up. He was like, ‘That’s going to be me next year.’ ”

Harris said: “It was cool to see the school I was going to go to win the championship. It made me even more excited to get up to East Lansing.”