Branden Dawson drives towards the basket during the Moneyball Pro-Am at Lansing Sexton July 10. (Photo: Patrick Hayes)
Intrpdtrvlr and I posted our scouting report from the Moneyball Pro-Am Monday, but I also had a chance to talk to some MSU players in attendance for a story for SLAM. Most of what I discussed in the story had to do with moving past last season:
The key in the group of newcomers is Dawson. A McDonald’s All-American, Dawson is 6-6 with a stronger frame than most college freshmen. He’s put up big numbers in the Lansing Pro-Am, playing against a mix of other Division I college players as well as professional players.
"I think I can come in and make a good impact, but so can the other freshmen and so can Brandon Wood," Dawson said. "We’re just gonna come in here, play hard and the sky’s the limit."
But, since I noticed in the comments of the scouting reports post, some readers asking for more hoops talk, after the jump, I'm posting the full transcripts of my interviews with Derrick Nix, Dwaun Anderson and Branden Dawson from Moneyball after the jump.
How has your summer been getting to play against your new teammates here?
It’s like a dream come true playing against these days. It’s a dream to just play against these guys in practice, Draymond Green, Brandon Wood, Keith Appling, Brandan Kearney. It’s a big step playing against this competition.
Have any of the MSU alums given you any advice?
Oh yeah, Mateen Cleaves, CB (Charlie Bell), Steve Smith, I talk to all of those guys. They just tell me to keep working hard. If I work hard to get better, it’ll all be laid out for me to have success here.
What will help the team get back on track next season?
We have to come in with a good mindset. Delvon Roe, Draymond Green, the seniors are gonna take the lead. Last year’s team didn’t do as well as they wanted. This year, we’re coming back with a good mindset and we’re focused this year.
Do you think you can help make up for the lost offense of Summers/Lucas?
I think I can come in and make a good impact, but so can the other freshmen and so can Brandon Wood. We’re just gonna come in here, play hard and the sky’s the limit.
What's your experience been like so far in the pro-am?
It’s fun. I’m just enjoying myself playing out here.
What can you and other newcomers add to the team this year?
We’re all going to play hard. We like to go hard at each other, play defense. I think we’re going to bring a lot of energy right off the bat and a lot of hustle.
There are a lot of new players, do you expect a lot of competition for minutes?
As freshmen, we’re all gonna have different roles on the team. I think we’ll get playing time, maybe some more than others, but I think everyone can contribute in some way.
Playing at a small high school, what will people see from you who might not be as familiar with your game?
Right off the bat, they’ll see my athleticism and my hustle. Those are the two things that I always like to get into just when I’m getting used to the environment.
You've been a willing passer in this pro-am, do you feel like people didn’t realize you had those passing skills in high school?
Yeah definitely. That’s definitely a big part of my game. It just comes from playing, knowing where people are on the court basically.
Have you played in this before?
Yeah, it's my second year.
There are guys from Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Lansing … what’s the competition level like?
It’s tough, we’ve got a lot of the best guys out of Detroit, Lansing, just the best guys in Michigan playing here, then a lot of the pros come back like Torbert, Charlie Bell, so it’s pretty tough competition.
How competitive are the veteran guys? Do you try and go pretty hard at them?
Oh yeah, we’re trying to win every game here, we all want to win a championship here. It’s not like a freelancing all-star game or anything. It’s fun to come in the summer, have something to do and get better.
How does it help get ready for the season?
When you’re playing against the best players, alumni, current players, it gets you ready. For me, playing against Adriean Payne, other big guys, it’s getting me prepared because I feel like I won’t face many people his size during the season. Then playing against some of these quick guards, I feel like it just helps my overall game.
Expectations for next season individually?
This should be my coming out year. Last year was pretty tough for me. I had some off the court issues going on that weren’t necessary. I’m looking to do good things this year and win a national championship.
How will the new guys fit in?
All our guards can play. Brandan Kearney, Travis Trice, Branden Dawson, all those guys were good recruits. Then we’ve got Brandon Wood coming in and he gave us 30 when we played him my freshman year, so he’s pretty good. We should be OK. I think we should do better than last year.