I have to start my first ever Linking Laconically post with a brief bit of reminiscing. A few years ago, when I was writing a blog that eight people read for MLive, I got super giddy about then-sophomore Draymond Green's improvement and wrote a, 'Could Draymond Green make the NBA someday?' post.
Now, I fully admit to taking a best possible case scenario in that premature post, but I also had my credibility questioned quite a bit. One friend, a longtime prep basketball scout and writer in the state, wrote a dissenting view on his blog. Another friend, who covers Mid-Michigan high school and college basketball for the local ABC affiliate in the Flint area where I live, mentioned the article to Green's high school coach, Lou Dawkins. Dawkins is as big a Green fan as anyone, and even he thought the post I wrote was crazy.
Since then, obviously, Green continued to get better, continued to evolve his game and continued to shed weight. I wrote a TOC post when Kyle Singler was drafted by the Pistons restating my belief that Green's uniqueness had a spot in the NBA.
After yesterday's win over Purdue, if any random person doubted Green's credentials as the Big Ten Player of the Year frontrunner and, realistically, a National Player of the Year candidate, I doubt they still exist. It's even more rewarding that next-level scouts are finally noticing the type of special player Green has become — NBADraft.net has him slotted as the first pick in the second round currently and had him as a late first rounder in a mock draft last week. It has, simply, been amazing to watch Green's season and career at MSU. To go from where he was as a freshman to what he is on the verge of accomplishing as a senior is remarkable.
So that's basically a long-winded way of introducing today's links post, which is heavy on Green coverage after yesterday's performance against Purdue. Links after the jump.
No big surprise here. Green is Player of the Week again and Trey Burke is Freshman of the Week for his performance in Michigan's win over Ohio State.
Luke Winn on MSU's work on the boards: "TeamRankings is the only site that tracks total rebound rate -- the percentage of available rebounds a team grabs on both ends of the floor. Michigan State is first in the nation at 57.6 percent, with North Carolina a close second at 57.3. In TeamRankings' database, which goes back to 1997-98, only 10 teams have finished a season with a total rebound rate of 57.5 percent or above, and three of them were among Tom Izzo's finest productions."
Last summer, Green played for USA Basketball’s World University Games team coached by Painter in Shenzhen, China, scoring 8.6 points a game as the Americans went 7-1 with a two-point loss to Lithuania. Green and Painter gained a greater appreciation for each other there. "I really enjoyed being around him, he’s a contagious personality," Painter said of Green.
Draymond Green answers the bell, MSU rocks Purdue | The Detroit News
Tom Izzo to Draymond Green during halftime of yesterday's game: "He pulled me in a room by myself and said, 'We haven't been in this situation a ton of times but right now I think you're playing your worst basketball,'" Green recalled. "He said, 'You can take it one of two ways. You can go in the tank and if you go in the tank, we lose the game. Or you can step up and carry us to a win.'"
Another night at the office for Draymond Green of Michigan State - College Sports - The Detroit News
"Everyone deserved credit on this night as Izzo described it as a "total MSU team win." But there is no doubting what Green means to this team. He won’t get a double-double every night, even if we all expect it, but it’s almost getting to the point where the real news will be if he doesn’t."
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan compares Spartans' Draymond Green to Larry Bird| MLive.com
"He's a good player, and strong," Ryan said. "I don't know what else to say. I would have said that about Larry Bird if somebody said, 'Hey, how good do you think Larry Bird is?' He's a good player, a guy you'd like to have. Draymond's a guy I'd like to have."
Pick your MVP - LSJ Blogs: Hey, Joe
Joe Rexrode talks about the performances of Draymond Green, Austin Thornton, Derrick Nix and Branden Dawson, trying to figure out a MVP. Here's Joe on Dawson's sick windmill: "That windmill? How many replays is that going to get in the next few days? It'll overshadow his all-around strong game -- 15, 11 and good defense for most of the day. He's going to be scary but he's getting there already. As Tom Izzo said, he's figuring out how to move without the ball and get points without possessing a jump shot, as Jason Richardson did as a freshman."
And, as a special bonus, here are some highlights of the Chicago high school city championship game between Simeon and Curie. Tom Izzo was among the coaches in attendance to watch big-time prospects like Jabari Parker, Kendrick Nunn and Cliff Alexander. The video is courtesy of 312 Media: