This hasn’t been an ideal college basketball season in East Lansing, Michigan. In fact, it’s been nightmarish as the Spartans find themselves barely hanging on for a NCAA Tournament berth. Their meeting with the Illini on Saturday might be a “play-out game” for the big dance. But now’s not the time for MSU gloom and doom.
Instead let’s look ahead, to next year and another solid recruiting class. The crown jewel of that class is Branden Dawson, a 6-5 wing from Gary, Indiana who prepped at Lew Wallace.
The McDonald’s All-American Dawson is a Los Angeles Lakers fan should fit in well with Draymond Green next year, as he also prefers purple and gold.
By Paul M. Banks
Dawson, ranked No. 14 overall in the ESPNU 100, chose the Spartans over Indiana, Marquette, Purdue, Georgetown and UCLA. He averaged 23.9 points and 14.5 rebounds as a junior last season. This year, he’s avaeraging 28.7 ppg, 18.6 rpg and 5.6 apg.
Dawson explained why he choose State, when I caught up to him Tuesday night; right before he had the opportunity to meet Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose, a McDonald’s All-American in 2007.
“Family, we’re real tight with the coaches, it wasn’t too far from home, and they’re really all about education up there, I feel like I fit right in with their program,” he said.
And the tradition as well. “He (Tom Izzo) could have been coach for the Cavaliers but he stayed home, and he’s loyal to his program,” Dawson said.
He’s an aggressive player who finishes strong at the rim and models his game after Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant.
“He just makes it look so easy,” Dawson said.
According to the “bottom line” on his ESPN recruiting profile:
“Dawson is a powerful wing that plays more like a power forward at this point but his skills are rapidly improving. He can rebound as well as any wing in the class and finish over or around opponents at the rim. His toughness and competitiveness makes him special. He is a blue collar wing that finds a way to be productive and is capable of defending all three perimeter positions.”
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He doesn’t have a real nickname, but he is also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
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