McDonald's Spotlight: Branden Dawson

CHICAGO -- He is an elite level rebounder with developing skills, and soon Branden Dawson will be showing his stuff to the Izzone.

As one of the best rebounders in the class, Branden Dawson earned his McDonald's All-American Game nod through hard work and grit. Those are the same qualities his hometown of Gary, Indiana is known for, and it is what he hopes to bring to Michigan State next season.

The McDonald's game is typically not a place where guys known as "rebounders" get selected and are appreciated, but that is the case with Dawson. The junkyard dog is just taking in all the fun and is enjoying his time in Chicago.

"It is a big opportunity playing against the best competition," said Dawson. "I have the opportunity to guard guys like Austin Rivers, Adonis Thomas, and other great players. It is just a great opportunity."

He continued, "We go hard in practice. Coach wants us to go all out. We are just playing team basketball and having fun."

After committing to the Michigan State Spartans following the summer, Dawson kept a close eye on the program, and saw the somewhat rough season by MSU standards. Watching the games, Dawson just felt like he could have made a huge difference.

"It is going to be great," said Dawson of Michigan State. "I can't wait to play for Coach (Tom) Izzo. I am going to bring that spirit back to Michigan State basketball. I want to give that hope. Us four freshmen are going to work hard and do everything we can to win."

Specifically Dawson feels that his style of play will fill a void that is on the Spartan roster currently.

"I saw that they need that junkyard dog," said Dawson. "Just they needed that Gary basketball player, a player with that kind of heart, and that is what I am going to bring."

For now though Dawson is simply enjoying his time on the court playing alongside fellow Indiana stars and his main competition for Mr. Basketball, Marquis Teague and Cody Zeller.

"It is great playing on the same team as Marquis and Cody," said Dawson. "It is a great honor to be on their same team. Those guys are both great players."

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