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Draymond Green has left an indelible mark on this Michigan State program. Thirty, forty and fifty years from now, we'll still be talking about him.
In a day and age where we mostly see "me first" players and the love of watching one's own jump shot, Draymond continues to be an aberration. Yes, he won an individual honor on Monday night when he claimed the Big Ten's Player of the Year award. But I'll contend that his 16.2 point per game average was more out of necessity than anything else.
After all, Draymond loves doing the little things in this game. Outside of his scoring average, he pulled down a career high 10.3 rebounds per game and also led the team in steals (47) and 3-point makes (45), while ranking second on the team in assists(3.5/g) and blocked shots (29).
Across the Big Ten platform, he was the only player this season to rank in the top ten in points, rebounds and assists, proving to be (in my opinion), the most versatile player in the country. In fact, Green led the nation with five games of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.
But more than any of this, my favorite part about Draymond is that he recognizes his place in the game and in this program.
Case in point: in MSU's 14 point victory over Wisconsin back on February 16th, Draymond made a layup and was fouled heading into a media timeout during the first half. Following the break he would be shooting a free throw. When the horn sounded for the team's to break their respective huddles, Green walked over to our radio setup and told Matt Steigenga that his layup had just tied him with Matt for 23rd on the all time scoring list.
Draymond made his remark to Matt with a smile on his face that said, "It's an honor to be at this level." Then, as only Draymond does, he winked, almost to say, "But, I'm going to pass you in just a second."
Day Day missed the free throw, which made the moment even better.
But that moment told me as much as I needed to know about Draymond's respect for the past and his passion to build on the present and the future of this Spartan program.
Earlier this season Coach Izzo called him the "Perfect Spartan," labeling Draymond as a guy who not only is a great leader for his team, but also someone who is the perfect representative for all of Spartan athletics.
He's a once in a decade guy at MSU. At other schools, more like a once in a lifetime player.
He values the team's success at a far greater level than his own. And his numbers bear that out. Over his career, Green has led the team in rebounding on 67 occasions, led in assists in 42 different games and been the top scorer just 26 times. How many times do you think you'll see a star player with those numbers?
As the player of the year, Day Day became the seventh different Spartan to earn the award.
Jay Vincent (1981)
Scott Skiles (1986)
Shawn Respert (1995)
Mateen Cleaves (1998-99)
Morris Peterson (2000)
Kalin Lucas (2009)
Of those 7, only, he, Mateen and Mo Pete have won 3 Big Ten titles and made at least two trips to the Final Four.
How about another common thread among all of those players? Each one of them, outside of Draymond and Kalin, have their number hanging from the Breslin Center rafters. Yes, Draymond will be among them. And in my mind, Kalin will be too.
I could go on and on about Draymond Green all day. Maybe I will after the season is over. But we'll wait for the entire script on his MSU career to be written. Because with Draymond, we know their could be a lot more to talk about.
DRAYMOND BY THE NUMBERS
I chronicled what Draymond has accomplished in his Big Ten Player of the Year Announcement for Monday's Tom Izzo Show, Green Carpet Special.
-102 total wins
-2010 Big Ten 6th man of the year
-2 time 3rd team All-Big Ten selection (2009, 10)
-3rd member of the 1,000 point, 1,000 rebound club at MSU (Greg Kelser, Johnny Green)
-2 career triple-doubles
-35 career double-doubles (17 this season)
-2nd in career blocked shots (109)
-3rd in career steals (173)
-3rd in career rebounds (1,020)
-18th in career scoring (1,417)