Draymond Green Emerges as This Years Spartans Mature!

Hondo S. Carpenter

Tom Izzo isn’t afraid to be critical of most of his players. When he speaks, people listen, and when he recently said, “Draymond may be our best player now,” volumes were spoken in just seven words.

 

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Green is averaging 11 points and 8 rebounds per game, but more importantly, has taken the role of emotional leader. Izzo put great emphasis on Green and talked about leadership tendencies that his forward displays. “He has an infectious attitude. Not afraid to say something in front of people…has been and can call people out.”

 

Izzo loves that type of vocal tough leadership. In fact, in Mateen’s freshman season, Izzo knew that Mateen was his guy when barking out criticism of Cleaves, “He shot right back at me.” From time to time fans will see an Izzo player getting vocal and they misunderstand that Izzo loves that fire from his guys.

 

Izzo’s sophomore forward has a huge upside. When asked about any drawbacks to Green’s game, Izzo bluntly said, “Maturity to do all things all the time.” Learning to do the off court things will come with age, but there is no doubt that elected captain or not, he has the ear of his teammates.

 

Izzo likes the emotion that Green brings off the bench and has used an influential sixth man in the past to get his teams to final fours. Most notably, Charlie Bell. “Draymond knows the number of minutes he plays, and he knows who plays at the end of the game.” Green would like to start, but will live with Izzo playing him where he sees fit. Green has the maturity to know what his role is and that is in the form of leadership on this team.

 

Admittedly, Izzo says that over this break he wants to get a rotation down and finally settle on who his starters are. He honestly said, “The biggest key is what to do with Draymond.” In an ideal world he would start Green, but he still would like to start a big. Frankly, it is easier to get his young bigs minutes early in the game than what could be a critical time at the end.

 

As the New Year approaches, Izzo is pleased that his team’s chemistry is finally “coming together.” He isn’t sure that Green will stay in the sixth man role, but he says that as the Big Ten season approaches, he is settling on a starting five. Here is what Izzo is thinking as a starting five for now:

  • Kalin Lucas
  • Raymar Morgan
  • Delvon Roe
  • Derrick Nix/Garrick Sherman
  • Chris Allen/Durrell Summers

 

The good news is that the Spartans are “totally healthy.” That is a first for the entire season for the Spartans and a first for this time of the schedule in years.

 

SO, how does Izzo feel about the Spartans now as they sit at 8-2? “If we were 9-1 we would be ecstatic.” How true!

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