Playing Navy "means a lot" for Spartans

Michigan State set to open another season with a game focused on the armed forces. For Travis Trice and Branden Dawson, that means starting their senior years the way their careers began as freshmen

Branden Dawson and Travis Trice opened their careers at Michigan State on an aircraft carrier.

Now, the pair will open their senior seasons with yet another game involving the Navy – this time, playing at the Naval Academy.

“It means a lot, just playing up against guys that serve our country. Just getting the opportunity to spend time with those guys and getting to know those guys and ask questions, it’s a great opportunity. I’m looking forward to it. It’s the third opportunity to play in a game like this and I’m looking forward to it.”

The Spartans lost to North Carolina 67-55 in the inaugural Carrier Classic in 2011 before losing to Connecticut 66-62 in the Armed Forces Classic in Germany in 2012.

”You get to see every aspect of it,” Trice said. “You get to see some of the guys on duty in my first year being on the ship. Then the second year going over to Germany, you see some of the bad end of it with being wounded and what might happen.

”Now, getting to see people that might go into it. Kids that are our age and still in college.”

For Trice, the game means a little bit more. His grandfather, Robert Pritchett, and uncle, Matt Prichett, attended the Naval Academy and his uncle played football for the Midshipmen.

”That’s one of the perks of being at Michigan State,” he said. “At a program like this, we get to play in marquee games and events. I’m appreciative of it.”

Trice said having family members attending the game and having attended the school gives him a greater appreciation for the opportunity to play in such games.

“Definitely because now you see what happens after the fact,” he said. “They talk about it to this day, how it really effected them and how it changed their life.”

While Dawson and Trice will be playing in their third game centered on the armed forces, this will be the first for Bryn Forbes. He recalled watching the Spartans play North Carolina with teammate Denzel Valentine back in 2011 while the pair still attending Lansing Sexton.

”I hoped to do something like that,” he said. “I’m expecting a great experience.”

But for Dawson, he hopes this experience ends with a win.

“I’m basically used to it, but I have to get a win,” he said. “I’m 0-2 right now going into these games. Coach said we are 0-2 so we have to win.”

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