By Adam Ruff/Spartan Sports Network
I don’t think there should be any question who this week’s player of the week is or should be. Durrell Summers played lights out against the Buckeyes on Sunday and was the reason that the Spartans won. (Click HERE for the Player of the Week Feature)
Sure, You can make your case for Kalin Lucas with his 20 second half points…and even Goran Suton who missed out on his second straight double double by a single rebound.
But think about this…If Durrell did not score in the first half, MSU would have been down 31-10. His 16 first half points kept the Spartans in contention for the first half, and ultimately the game...which gave his teammates a chance to do their thing.
For the game, “Cool-Rell” (A nickname I’m borrowing from Ricardo Cooney) was lights out, shooting 8-for-13 from the field, 6-for-9 from long distance and was 4-fo4 from the charity stripe.
The best thing about his game however might not be just the win. It could be that the Ohio State game has given him the confidence to take his game to the next level. Earlier this week, I got to chat a little bit with Durrell.
ADAM RUFF: Did you surprise yourself at all on Sunday, with not only your game, but the emotion you exuded also?
DURRELL SUMMERS: Not really surprising…stuff is going good and I was hitting shots. I was just getting emotional. When guys get going, it’s natural to show a little bit of emotion.
AR: Talk about your personality though…you’re a cool, calm, and collected customer. You’re not a big “Rah Rah” guy (Durrell Laughs). Is that something we can expect to see now?
DS: I think you can expect to see that. Plus on the road you have to bring your own energy. Guys get going like that, we just all get animated a little bit. That helps big time on the road...because Ohio State’s crowd tried to get back into it when we were coming back. And we’ve gotta have our own energy, because if were dead, then we aren’t going to survive on the road.
AR: Coach Izzo’s been in your ear a little bit more lately. Is that because he thinks you can be a 17 or 18 point guy? Do you think you can be that kind of guy?
DS: If coach is thinking that, then that’s great. Coach is in my ear, just telling me if I can make a move, make it aggressive. Guys are going to make mistakes, but he’s confident in my ability on offense, as well as my defense is getting better which is keeping me on the floor.
AR: Are you at a point where you think your game is ready to break out?
DS: I think I’m at a point where I’m going to be more aggressive because my confidence is building every game and every practice. I’m definitely going to look to attack a little more and be a little more aggressive.
Durrell is turning into a very confident individual…and it’s a great confidence because it’s not even close to being the cocky kind of confidence. You should look for Durrell’s numbers to improve in the coming weeks, because our player of the week might just have had his breakout game against Ohio State on Sunday.
As a side note, I would also like to mention Summers’ dunking ability. Every home game, as the Spartans conclude their first round of warm-ups, the Spartans put on their own little dunk contest. As the resident dunking expert on the team, Durrell always goes last. Well, before the Illinois game, Durrell started at the top of the key, threw a lob pass off of the shot clock, snatched it out of the air with one hand, and hammered it home.
Having watched some great Spartan dunkers of the past, I would say that he’s on, or near the same level as Greg Kelser, Jason Richardson, and Shannon Brown. Yes, Durrell can be that electrifying.
The sky is the limit for Durrell…figuratively and literally.
RUNNER UP PLAYER of the WEEK
Senior, Center, Goran Suton
Not only did ‘G rack up 13 points and 9 boards against the Ohio State Buckeyes, but he was the lone bright spot in last Wednesday’s loss to the Northwestern Wildcats when he scored 15 points and snatched 14 rebounds.
For the season, Suton is now averaging 10.5 points and 8 rebounds per game.
By Adam Ruff/Spartan Sports Network
First of all, this blog is specifically designed for me to fill you in on who the Michigan State player of the week (At least in my opinion…and yes, my opinion does matter). And, for the most part, my “opinion” is the only guideline that I will follow in this blog.
This week, Travis Walton is this week’s MSU player of the week. Not only that, but I’m also going to state the case as to why he will be the team’s MVP for the season.
First, to whet your whistle, here is the Player of the Week segment that aired during the Tom Izzo radio show on Monday.
This week, Travis played lockdown “D” once again…the result: 2 more wins for the Spartans. According to Doug Herner (MSU’s Assistant Video Coordinator & Team Grandpa) T-Walt was good for 8 deflections, 3 floor-dives, and 4 steals…all of which led the team in hustle points.
Last Wednesday against Penn State, Travis was assigned to Nittany Lion star Talor Battle. While Battle did go for 20 points, Travis was responsible for holding him without a field goal for more than 30 minutes in the middle portion of the game (From 13:57 of the 1st half, to the 3:45 mark of the 2nd)
Now, against Illinois on Saturday, Walton was assigned to Demetri McCamey. McCamey came into the contest leading the team in scoring, averaging 12.3 points per game…he left town with no points on 0-9 shooting! How’s that for defense!
Aside from the two games from the past week Travis has been doing it all season long.
Dec. 20: AJ Abrams, Texas. 8 pts, 3-10 FG, 0-4 3FG
Jan. 6: Jon Diebler, Ohio State. 7 pts, 2-8 FG, 1-6 3FG
Jan. 10: Sherron Collins, Kansas 6-14 FG, 8 TO’s
Jan. 17: Trent Meacham & Demetri McCamey
On Monday, I sat down with Travis to see just how he does it…
ADAM RUFF: So, Travis, you’re the inaugural player of the week in my blog…that’s gotta make you feel special!
TRAVIS WALTON: Oh, man, it’s feels great to be the first guy ever (SARCASM)
AR: You know, for the player of the week segment on the Tom Izzo radio show, I used Jay-Z’s “I’m a Hustla” as the music…does that work for you?
TW: (Laughing) Yeah, that great. You know, I’m a hustler, working hard every day in the gym grinding it out. Our team is working hard, hustling to get what we want.
(Now, Marquise Gray and Chris Allen are laughing)
AR: Good answer Travis, thanks for playing a long…Is there another song that might fit you better?
TW: Um….that Eminem song…what’s that song (he asks Marquise)…
MARQUISE GRAY: Oh, the one that Coach G (Mike Garland) had Durrell read?...”Lose Yourself”…is that the one? “You gotta lose yourself in the moment…dum…dum…dum…
TW: You only get one shot…do not miss your chance to…something, something…
MG: (Uncontrollable laughter)
TW: No, if I could pick one song to describe me, it would be “Never would have made it” by Marvin Sapp. It’s a gospel song.
AR: Thanks Travis, I’ll keep that in mind the next time you’re the player of the week…I’m glad we got that figured out…But seriously Travis, last week you recorded 8 deflections, 3 floor-dives, and 4 steals…what does it mean to you when you lead the team in “hustle plays”…
TW: Those types of plays are game-changing plays. You know, anything I can do to make an impact on the game is key to me. All I want to do is win, and those types of plays are what you do to win games…and I was able to do them.
It makes sense that Marquise brought the song “Lose Yourself” up. After all, this is the last shot for Walton, Gray, Goran Suton, and Idong Ibok to win a coveted Big Ten title.
“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime”
For Travis – the epitome of a hustle player – it’s his one last shot for a Big Ten title, and you can bet that he’ll make all the plays he can until he gets that elusive title.
RUNNER-UP PLAYER of the WEEK
Senior Forward Marquise Gray
In MSU’s 63-57 victory over the Fighting Illini on Saturday, Gray was a stick of dynamite bringing the energy. Quise scored a quick 9 points and was a jumping jack on the boards. In total, Gray finished the game with 11 points and 6 rebounds.
If Marquise could bring that kind of effort every game, this Spartan team could not be stopped.