"Warrior" Bess makes debut for Michigan State

Freshman guard logs nine minutes in his first game action as a Spartan after suffering a broken bone in his foot in the preseason.

The hope for Michigan State and coach Tom Izzo was to finally play freshman Javon Bess on Wednesday night.

That wish came to fruition – and then some. The freshman guard, who had been out since the preseason after having surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot, made his debut and played nine minutes in the Spartans’ 66-46 win against Eastern Michigan.

“It felt good,” Bess said. “I was just blessed to be out there and to heal as quickly as I did and just to be out there playing with my team.”

He pulled down five rebounds in the short action, while hitting a free throw with less than a minute remaining for his first career point.

Izzo said following the game his plan was to play him a few minutes, but the freshman wound up with nine after checking in with 13:54 to go in the second half due to the injury to Branden Dawson.

He filled it at the four for some of the time he was on the floor, a sign of the versatility he brings, which also led Izzo to say he is similar to former Spartan Alan Anderson.

”We are going to be able to play him at a lot of different positions,” Izzo said. “He's just got a nose for the ball. He's a warrior, that kid. I told you that when we got him and I told you that when we lost him.

”Trice said it best when he told me that this is the one thing we're missing. … We're a ways away, but I think Christmas is going to be a good time for him.”

Bess said the coming weeks will be important tor him as he looks to get back into the swing of things.

“It is very important just for me so I can refresh on the plays and get my wind back up because at the end if was a little fatigued,” he said. “I feel like I’ve gotta get back to normal by the time Big Ten season rolls around.”

Part of that will be looking to put in extra work on his jump shot, but he knows he can bring two important facets right away: Defense and rebounding.

”I feel like defense and rebounding is something that I always had no matter how long I’m out,” Bess said. “That’s something inside you that you can always do, no matter if you can’t shoot, you can always defend and rebound.”

But his skills have been seen by his teammates, so they know he can help make the team better across the board.

“Absolutely he brings some toughness,” junior Bryn Forbes said. “He will go in there and rebound and he will guard anybody. He can score, too, so he brings a little bit of everything.”

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