141535338 Rising Star: Michigan States Draymond Green

(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

By: Mark Chalifoux

He’s not the biggest forward in the country but there’s no question that Michigan State’s Draymond Green is one of the best. Green was a first-team All-American forward this season and had one of the best first weekends in tournament history, pulling in a combined 40 points, 25 rebounds and 16 assists in the two games.

Green isn’t your typical NBA power forward prospect because he’s a little short (6-foot-6) to dominate at the next level. He is an extremely savvy player though and his basketball IQ shows up in his assist numbers (3.9 per game) and in his defense.

Even more impressive for Green is how he’s stepped up his game in the tournament. In his first game, a blowout win over LIU Brooklyn, Green made tournament history with his second NCAA tournament triple double. He tallied 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Paired with his triple-double in last season’s tourney loss to UCLA, Green is in elite company.

Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson are the only other players to have more than one triple-double in the NCAA tournament.

Green also had a monster game against St. Louis in round 2. His 16 points, 13 rebounds and six assists helped propel the Spartans to a 65-61 win.

His play hasn’t gone unnoticed by NBA scouts. A borderline first-round pick due to his size, many scouts now see him as a definite first-round pick (albeit late) after his play in the tournament.

Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson get all the hype, but Draymond Green has established himself as perhaps the best player in college basketball. Saint Louis head coach Rick Majerus said “if I had to take a kid right now to win a national championship, I’d take Draymond Green.”

Green just has so many ways to make a big play. He can score in the post, he can knock down a jumper, he can drive the lane and make a brilliant pass and he can play serious defense.

His confidence is soaring and he’s one of the most fun players to watch on a Spartans team that seems to do nothing but gain steam. In a region where most fans picked Missouri, Green’s combination of shooting (40% from 3!), passing (nearly 4 assists per game!), rebounding and his elite play in clutch situations has the Spartans poised for a Final Four.

The only team that can stop the Spartans is the team that can stop Green. And that team may not be in the tournament.

Mark Chalifoux is a contributor to CBS Local Digital Media and can be reached at mark.chalifoux@gmail.com.


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