Why Louisville should fear Draymond Green
PHOENIX — When Louisville plays Michigan State Thursday in the Sweet 16, they will fear the versatility of Draymond Green.
When Rick Pitino, the Louisville (28-9) head coach, was asked about Green and the matchup that he presents, he said, “Well, that’s just it, his position, I’m not sure what his position is. If they need somebody to run a pick-and-roll, if they need a post up, post up. If they need a guy to take a bounce, he does that. He’s about the most complete player in college basketball in terms of all phases of the game.”
So why is Green one of the most complete players in all of college basketball?
The 6-7 senior posted a triple-double in the Round of 64 with his 24 points, 12 boards and 10 assists to lead MSU (29-7) over LIU-Brooklyn. Green was named the Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player after averaging a double-double on the way to the Big Ten championship. The forward’s accolades continue as he was named the unanimous First Team All-Big Ten, team MVP, Sporting News First Team All-American, and is currently second in Michigan State’s history in rebounds, blocks and steals.
Green is a special talent. His lethal post moves combined with his solid handle make him a tough player to guard. But how did he get that handle?
“I was always bigger than everyone.” Green said. “He (his uncle, the elementary school coach) had me play point guard. And he always used to tell me, I asked him, Why do I have to play point guard, I’m bigger than everybody, I can score. He told me, Some day you’re going to stop growing, and we don’t know how tall you’re going to be, so you always need to have guard skills.”
These skills have made Green the special player that he is and have propelled Michigan State to the Sweet 16.
“Well, Draymond is a special player,” Austin Thornton said. “And he’s one of the main reasons why we’ve had the year that we’ve had. He’s done a lot of things for this team and there’s no doubt about it coming into the year he could have been a lot more selfish and could have understood that he had the opportunity to put up some big-time numbers. But he did a great job all year long of really involving everyone, both on the inside and the outside.”
Green’s unselfishness is shown in his high assist rate, especially for a frontcourt player. Green is averaging 3.4 assists in the 14 career NCAA tournament games over his college career and even had a team-high six assists against Saint Louis in the Round of 32, saying nothing of his 10 dimes completing his triple-double the game before.
“He’s a special player, and he’s our guy.” Thornton said. “He’s our go-to guy. Anytime you have a guy that’s as unselfish as he is, it rubs off on the rest of the guys on our team. If our star can be that unselfish and help our team, the rest of us can do the same. I’ve been glad to be able to play with him. It’s been fun.”
Draymond’s unselfish play has started to rub off on his teammates, probably contributing to the Michigan State Spartan’s current five-game win streak as they go up against the Louisville Cardinals, who have won six in a row.
The Spartans look to down the Cardinals Thursday night at US Airways Center, putting them one step closer to a championship, behind Green’s versatile presence which has propelled him to be a likely first-round pick in the upcoming NBA draft.