Draymond Green is one of the best all-around players in the history of Michigan State basketball. I mean, there's no question about that, right?
In each of Green's four season's at MSU, he improved dramatically, so much so, that he earned the Big Ten's Player of the Year award as a senior. And while he was great during the regular season, averaging more than 16 points and 10 rebounds per game in his MVP season, Day Day really shined in the postseason.
In fact, two of his three career triple-doubles came in the NCAA tournament. The first, against UCLA in 2011 (24 pts., 11 rebs., 10 asts.), and again a year later versus LIU-Brooklyn (24 pts., 12 rebs., 10 asts.).
So I imagine, while most every one in the NBA-world was shocked that Day Day made big play after big play to help Golden State close out its first round series win over Denver on Thursday night, folks who followed his career at Michigan State were not.
Here's an except of an article from mercurynews.com's Carl Steward, describing Green's heroic 16-point, 10-rebound effort last night:
"Early on, the two rookies (Green and Harrison Barnes) kept their team afloat, scoring 14 of the team's 21 first-quarter points. But down the stretch, it was clearly Green who kept his head and stabilized the Warriors as they were squandering an 18-point lead.
"When you know you've worked on your game for years and years, in situations like that, it's just basketball," said Green. "You can't over-think the situation or start worrying, hey, there's two minutes left in an elimination game. It's basketball. You just keep your calm and remember all the work you put in."
So why did Green take it upon himself to make those two critical drives?
"They're trapping Stephen Curry," Green said. "When you trap Steph like that, someone else has to step up and make the play. That's basically their coach saying (Curry) isn't going to beat us. Someone else has to do it.
"So you're put in a situation like that, it's your time to make a play," Green continued. "I didn't get that layup on my own. Bogut sealed Javale McGee off and once he did that, I knew I had the lane."
Oh yes, and Green also made another 3-point basket, his fifth of the series, as the Warriors were building their 18-point lead. So he did a little bit of everything in his 25 minutes.
"He's a three, a four, a two? What does he do? He wins games," said Bogut. "I love the kid. He's going to be a great player."
Coach Mark Jackson wasn't surprised to see the rookie from Michigan State be so bold from the perimeter.
"He's made some big shots, and tonight, he really made some big shots," Jackson said. "But he's not surprised when he makes 'em. Funny thing, he's running down the floor like he's Steph Curry making faces and gestures." (READ FULL ARTICLE)
Here's another summary of Green's night, again, from the San Jose Mercury News:
"Andrew Bogut summed up Green best in his post-game comments. ”Draymond Green wins games.” That’s exactly what he did in Game 6, in some expected and unexpected ways. The defense and rebounding is expected, but was nonetheless exceptional. 10 rebounds in 24 minutes is an elite-level rate. To do it against an excellent rebounding team like the Nuggets makes it even sweeter. The 16 points on 6-12 shooting is found money. Green showed no hesitation making plays throughout the game. For a guy who has struggled all season to knock down shots, he looked supremely comfortable and confident. There’s one image of Green that sums it all up for me. With 4:41 to go and the Warriors struggling to maintain the lead, Green came to the scorers table to check in for Landry. Crouching against the table, waiting to check into the game, Green had the biggest smile on his face — as if there was nowhere he’d rather be in the world than checking into the fourth quarter of an elimination game with his team desperately needing a jump start. Green checked in, scored the next 6 points, and the rest is now history"
It's nice to see Green's career progress, especially after a rough stretch to close out the season. Day Day averaged 2.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, shooting a meager 32.7-percent from the field and 20.9-percent from three-point range.
In the postseason however, those averages have bumped up to 7.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 59.3-percent overall and 50-percent from deep.
Alvin Ellis is the latest addition to the 2013 Michigan State basketball class, a 3-star shooting guard from Chicago's De La Salle high school.
At one time, the 6-4 guard was committed to Tubby Smith and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. But when Smith was fired following a third round NCAA tournament in March, Ellis reopened his recruitment, received an offer from Tom Izzo and accepted it.
Even Trevor Embakwe, Minnesota's double double machine from the past few years, knew it was a good move for Ellis.
Considering the Spartans had an extra scholarship open with the defection of Brandan Kearney in December, Ellis will fill that slot nicely after scoring 20 points per game as a high school senior.
He along with 6-9 forward Gavin Schilling - Ellis' former teammate - now make up the 2013 Spartan class. While they may not turn out to be superstars, they should be good role players in Izzo's system. And many times, that can be much more important in making good teams, great ones.
If Adreian Payne returns for his senior season, the Spartans will be the favorite to win the Big Ten next year and be a strong national title contender. If Ellis and Schilling can contribute in a positive way, that would go a long way towards MSU's goals.
Here's the write up from MSU Sports Info:
Averaged 20 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a senior at Chicago De La Salle High School … Led the Meteors to a 17-8 record and an appearance in the regional finals while earning Class 4A second-team all-state honors … IBCA (Illinois Basketball Coaches Association) First-Team All-State selection … Two-time All-Catholic League North selection … Averaged 17.0 points, 4.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 steals as a junior … Shot 41 percent from 3-point range as a junior … Scored 42 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter, in the 2012 Illinois Class 4A regional title game … Two-year team captain at De La Salle … Played with fellow MSU signee Gavin Schilling in 2011-12 (junior season) … Captured Catholic League North and regional titles as a sophomore.
Izzo on Ellis:
“Alvin will be a great addition to our backcourt. We like his offensive skill set, especially his shooting touch, hitting 40 percent from three each of the last two seasons. He’s got good length and versatility, with the ability to defend a couple different positions on the perimeter. Combine his great work ethic, his great family background and his commitment to academics, and I expect him to be the type of player that really develops during his time as a Spartan, enjoying the complete student-athlete experience.”
Michigan State released a statement on Thursday, stating that Big Ten Freshman of the Year Gary Harris will return to MSU for his sophomore season.
Despite playing with nagging shoulder injuries all season long, Harris continued to elevate his game as the year wore on. Gary averaged 12.9 points per game for the entire season, but increased that average to 13.7 during Big Ten play.
Harris finished his freshman season connecting on 65 of his 158 three-point attempts, leaving him one make behind Chris Hill for the freshman record of 66 field goals from long distance.
But Harris' return wasn't all of the good news today. Coach Tom Izzo confirmed that Harris would not need shoulder surgery this off-season, which means he'll have an entire summer to improve on his impressive freshman season.
GARY HARRIS IN THE RECORD BOOKS
Points Per Game (Freshman)
1. Magic Johnson - 17.0
2. Shawn Respert - 15.8
3. Gary Harris - 12.9
4. Scott Skiles - 12.3
5. Raymar Morgan - 11.7
Sam Vincent - 11.7
Greg Kelser - 11.7
Overall Points (Freshman)
1. Magic Johnson - 511
2. Shawn Respert - 474
3. Gary Harris - 439
4. Scott Skiles - 376
5. Zach Randolph - 356
Field Goals (Freshman)
1. Magic Johnson - 175
2. Shawn Respert - 173
3. Gary Harris - 150
4. Scott Skiles - 141
5. Kalin Lucas - 138
Zach Randolph - 138
3-Point Field Goals (Freshman)
1. Chris Hill - 66
2. Gary Harris - 65
3. Shawn Respert - 60
4. Keith Appling - 39
5. Chris Allen - 36
1. Scott Skiles - 50.0%
2. Kirk Manns - 46.1%
3. Shawn Respert - 45.5%
4. Chris Hill - 44.6%
5. Gary Harris - 41.1%
Keith Appling - 41.1%
1. Magic Johnson - 68
2. Gary Harris - 45
3. Mark Montgomery - 43
4. Sam Vincent - 41
5. Travis Walton - 36
Gary Harris Quotes from MSU:
"I'm looking forward to my sophomore season with my Spartan brothers. When the season was done, Coach Izzo gathered a lot of great information and shared it with me and my family. After talking things over with my parents, it is my decision to remain at Michigan State.
"Playing in the NBA is definitely a goal of mine, and something that I've always dreamed of, but those dreams can wait for another day. I think additional experience and maturity will be huge in my development as a player. I have other dreams of things I want to accomplish, both as a player and as a team at Michigan State. I love college life, and I'm no hurry to move on.
"My teammates and I are already excited thinking about next season. I've been doing a lot of rehab on my shoulder and it feels stronger already. Last year was a good season for my teammates and me, but we can all improve this summer, and come back for even greater things next year."
Tom Izzo Quotes:
“After the season, I told Gary that I owed it to him and his family to gather the best information available regarding his potential NBA draft prospects. In the process, I spoke with many different general managers and teams, and presented that information to the family. I know Gary has dreams of someday playing in the NBA, but he handled the entire process with great maturity, and ultimately decided to remain at Michigan State. I have no doubt that Gary would have been a high pick had he entered the draft, but I’m excited to have the opportunity to coach him next year.
“Gary had a phenomenal freshman season, but his future is even brighter. After gathering many different opinions, it was determined that he would not need surgery on his shoulder. He’s been committed to his rehab and all indications are that he’s making great progress. There’s no question that a healthy Gary Harris is one of the premier guards in the country.
“I’d like to commend Gary and his family for the way they handled this process. It can be a stressful time dealing with outside pressures and imperfect information, but they handled it with great poise. It’s exciting to see a player embrace the college experience like Gary has. So often, society pressures kids to grow up and move on quickly. It’s refreshing to watch Gary follow his heart and enjoy his time in college, without being in a rush to move on.”
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