Green named Big Ten player of the year
If you watched a single Michigan State basketball game this year, this comes as no surprise.
Draymond Green, the Spartans’ all-everything forward, was named Big Ten player of the year on Monday. He also was the only unanimous selection to on the All-Big Ten first team, and was named to the All-Defensive team.
“Coming into the season, being named Player of the Year was something that Coach Izzo and I had talked about, but everyone thought it would be Jared Sullinger,” Green said in a statement. “Usually the best player on the best team gets a lot of publicity, and as we got better and started to win more games, I started getting thrown into that conversation. As my play started getting better, it became more of a realistic goal to have. It was a goal I set because I like to set goals, but it seemed so far out of reach coming into the season.
“Winning the Big Ten Championship was an incredible accomplishment, even though we had to share it. I’m also proud that I’m a leader of this team and we were able to come together and accomplish as much as we have with such young players. One of my biggest honors is to say that I was on the team that got this program back to where we are used to being and that I helped raise this program up even more.”
In addition to Green’s honors, sophomore point guard Keith Appling was named to the third team. He averaged 11.5 points and 3.8 assists per game. Freshman Branden Dawson earned a spot on the All-Freshman team, as he averaged 8.4 points and 4.5 rebounds this season. Dawson also was named honorable mention by the media.
Green ranked sixth in Big Ten with 16.2 points per game and led the conference with 10.3 rebounds per game. He also averaged 3.5 assists per game, placing him ninth.
As has been well-documented through the season, if those averages hold, Green will be the first major college player since Tim Duncan (Wake Forest, 1997) to average 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists for a season.
Green currently has the third most rebounds in MSU history (1,020), and ranks in the top five in career blocks and steals. He trails only Greg Kelser (1,092) and Johnny Green (1,036). He also is the fourth player to have 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.
“If an individual award is voted on by the coaches and the media, that is the ultimate compliment for a player because it shows how valuable you are,” said Tom Izzo, who was named Big Ten coach of the year. “When people vote on something like that, they look at scoring, rebounding, assists and leadership. … I’m very proud of him and I’m happy for him. He joins some elite athletes from Michigan State who have previously won the Player of the Year award.”
The last Michigan State player to win the award was Kalin Lucas in 2009. Other past Spartans to win player of the year are Jay Vincent, Scott Skiles, Shawn Respert, Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson.