Lighter, Leaner Green Ready to Rumble

Spartan freshman Draymond Green transformed his body throughout the offseason and has made head coach Tom Izzo do a double take. The coach is so impressed, he's reversed an earlier prediction regarding Green's opportunity to contribute immediately.

EAST LANSING — Despite lofty expectations, many questions surround the Michigan State basketball team.

Frosh forward Draymond Green, for instance, is an unknown commodity. Question marks hovered over the incoming Saginaw native, and the ambiguity was primarily because of his weight.

Last summer, Green suffered an ankle injury and subsequently packed on some pounds. But he has been steadily shedding the extra baggage since leading Saginaw to their second consecutive state championship earlier this year.

Many wondered if Green would redshirt this season; the roster is deep and he could use the time to shape his body into a collegiate player. Head coach Tom Izzo answered that question directly at Wednesday's media day at the Breslin Center.

"Right now I have no interest or thoughts of redshirting Draymond Green," Izzo said. He explained that two months ago there was a "99-1" chance that Green would redshirt, and those odds have now shifted to "1-99."

The change in Izzo's thought process stems from the fact that Green has lost 30 to 40 pounds since the end of his high school season. And his play has also been impressive.

"Draymond Green has showed a lot of aggressiveness. He's showed some tenacity. He's got just as good of skills I thought he'd have," Izzo said. "He can pass, he can shoot the ball, and he's rebounded the ball much better than I thought he could."

Even though Green has already earned praise from his demanding coach, he knows that playing the college game will be an arduous task, especially at Michigan State, a program that is known for its prolific transition game. Green has already observed what makes college basketball different from high school.

"The pace is much different and the guys are much stronger," said Green.

In order to get acclimated to playing at the hastened speed that is required at the college level, Green has been hard at work and disciplined in his training regiment, especially since arriving on campus. The results can be observed by taking one glance at him.

"Since I've been here I've lost 18 pounds," Green said. "I do cardio all the time. The strength and conditioning coach has me on the Stairmaster…. I feel that I've shed a lot, but I still have a little way to go."

Green, who says that he expects to play both forward positions, has impressed his teammates with his skills and work ethic as well. Perhaps most importantly, he has caught the attention of team captain Travis Walton. Walton sees the immense potential in Green, but also notices that Green is still not where he expects him to be in the near future.

"He still has a lot of work to do as far as working on conditioning," Walton said. "He wants to be a player. He probably didn't get as much hype as Delvon (Roe), but probably is just as good as Delvon, you just don't know it."

Green is an extremely gifted athlete with a skill-set that is sure to give teams in the Big Ten fits for years to come. He has already shed a considerable amount of weight, but keeping it off will be a difficult task for him during his tenure at Michigan State. Walton was frank when describing what Green needs to do to keep the weight off.

"Stop eating all that fast food."

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