The 6-foot-7.5 big man from Northwood-Lena continues to grow his recruiting attention this summer, suiting up for Lone Star Elite on the adidas circuit.
Below is a Q&A that TSD publisher Ben Love conducted with his high school coach, Troy Grigg, during the team's playoff run a few months back. It will shed some insight into a player LSU and many others in the SEC and Big 12 are monitoring.
“He played for me as a sixth grader and as an eighth grader. He would’ve played as a seventh grader but he broke his left arm. It wasn’t until his eighth-grade year he started playing up on the high school team. He played a good bit the first semester of that eighth-grade year. I mean he was 6-foot-8 then. In the middle of the year my starting point guard flunked out, and Mike moved into the starting lineup as an eighth grader. So he’s been a starter for me since January of his eighth-grade year.”
- On when Big Mike came into the program at Northwood-Lena
“He was fairly big last year and the year before. He’s dropped at least 40 pounds since the beginning of last year. He’s really moving well. Over the course of the season our running (in practice) goes down, so he does put on some more weight at times. But he’s been a whole lot more mobile this year.”
- On Mike’s weight loss from around 300 pounds to closer to 260 pounds
“I don’t want him to go outside. I would rather him go inside unless we’ve got a mismatch with my four-man. Those two work well together high-low. I would rather him stay inside and come to the ball harder and stronger. Let the double-team come and let my four-man cut to the goal and dish it off. Losing the weight, though, has helped him running the floor. This year he’s got a lot of put-backs off transition rebounds, stuff that wasn’t there before because he couldn’t or didn’t run the floor.”
- On if the dropped weight makes him more of an inside-out threat
“Some nights it’s frustrating as hell for him, but then other people get opportunities and get open. He’s had as many as six, seven, eight assists for us in games this year as a big man while averaging double-digits in points and rebounds still.”
- On how Mike deals with double- and triple-teams
“One thing about him is he has the skill set to go inside and out. That’s big, especially at the next level. Who’s guarding you? He can come outside and bring the 6-foot-9, 6-foot-10 center out, or he can go back inside and post up your smaller power forward.”
- On what makes him such a unique player in this state
“He is a good kid. He comes from a good family. I’ve known his daddy since I’ve been here. He’s a real respectful and humble kid. Mike would rather win than score, and he tells me that often. He would rather win the game than score 20 points. If I had the rest of them on the team like that one, that would just rather win than be in the limelight, we’d be a lot better.”
- On who Mike is on and off the court
---------------------------And here is TSD's video interview with Layssard from late February, during Northwood-Lena's playoff run in Class 1A.