Michigan St. Legend, NBA Prospect Draymond Green: exclusive part one of three


draymond green nba draft

There’s already been a movement to have Draymond Green‘s number retired at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. That’s how much he meant to the Michigan State Spartans and Big Ten college basketball. He’s also an NBA draft prospect, potentially in the first round. The Sports Bank’s Ngozi Ekeledo had a very detailed exclusive with Green, discussing his past, present and future.

NGOZI: Talk a little bit about this season. You all started unranked and then ended up with a tourney #1 seed. Did you envision this to happen at the beginning of the season?

DRAYMOND: It was a great season—we had a lot of fun playing with each other. At the end of the day, we didn’t quite have the finish that we wanted, but I think we passed a lot of expectations and what wasn’t expected of us. You know, it doesn’t always turn out the best in the end, and  you don’t always get the best result that you want, but overall, we had fun. I think you could see we meshed together after watching us play.

NGOZI: You were the most important player for the Spartans this year. How did you handle that pressure?

DRAYMOND: I think I handled it pretty well.  Coach Izzo, Coach Stephens–I think a lot of coaches did a great job with helping me out and helping me manage everything that I needed to take care of and to put everything into perspective for me and helping as much as possible as they could for me.

NGOZI: When you played this season you were the “Greg Jennings” so to speak putting everyone on your back, but you also looked like you were having a lot of fun. Is that just your personality?

DRAYMOND: It’s definitely part of my personality, but at the end of the day, you always want to have fun when you play. It’s fun when you’re playing with the group of guys that I was playing with this year–it was just phenomenal. You know it doesn’t happen like that on a team where guys enjoy being around each other and enjoy playing together. I enjoyed every minute of it playing with this team this year, and I think you could just see the fun on everyone’s face because it was a good feeling.

draymond-green

NGOZI: Tom Izzo said you probably had the most improvement from junior to senior year of any player he’s coached. Besides taking some pounds off your frame, what improvements or changes did you make in the offseason?

DRAYMOND: My work ethic and just overall improving my shooting and improving my ball handling;  improving more as a leader and improving my conditioning and my defense—I think it was just overall trying to improve everything. I think that helped me become a complete player by not really just focusing too much on one thing but trying to get better at each and every thing I did.

NGOZI: You’ve won so many awards for your accomplishments this season, such as Big Ten player of the year, NABC’s Division I player of the year as well as being an All-American player. Some people putting you in the company of Magic Johnson and Mateen Cleaves as one of the best Spartan players in school history. Which award meant the most to you and why?

DRAYMOND: All of them were great. It’s kind of hard to judge which award meant the most to me because at the end of the day, every single one of them takes a lot of hard work. It’s determination and a lot of help from my teammates, so I can’t really just say which one meant more to me because they all meant the world to me, and it’s just a great honor.

NGOZI: You were out in L.A. for the Wooden Awards. What were some of these experiences like where you were getting to travel to these places and hang out with other basketball players that had great seasons and careers as well?

DRAYMOND: It was great because you get to hang with different players—men and women—and you get to build relationships because some of these experiences last far beyond your playing days, and you make friendships that last a lifetime. I think that’s one of the best things and one of the most important things.

NGOZI: You’ve won so many awards for your accomplishments this season, such as Big Ten player of the year, NABC’s Division I player of the year as well as being an All-American player. Some people putting you in the company of Magic Johnson and Mateen Cleaves as one of the best Spartan players in school history. Which award meant the most to you and why?

DRAYMOND: All of them were great. It’s kind of hard to judge which award meant the most to me because at the end of the day, every single one of them takes a lot of hard work. It’s determination and a lot of help from my teammates, so I can’t really just say which one meant more to me because they all meant the world to me, and it’s just a great honor.
NGOZI: You were out in L.A. for the Wooden Awards. What were some of these experiences like where you were getting to travel to these places and hang out with other basketball players that had great seasons and careers as well?

DRAYMOND: It was great because you get to hang with different players—men and women—and you get to build relationships because some of these experiences last far beyond your playing days, and you make friendships that last a lifetime. I think that’s one of the best things and one of the most important things.

 

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