March 17, 2012

Majerus on Green: 'Collegiately he doesn't have a weakness'

COLUMBUS - Tom Izzo gave his son Steven the middle name "Mateen" because of the role All-American Mateen Cleaves played in establishing the Michigan State program among the nation's elite.

No player since Cleaves has played as large a role in shaping the Spartan basketball program as Draymond Green. Green's imprint on the Michigan State program has been so substantial that in the unlikely event that Izzo and wife Lupe were to add another son to their family, his middle name would probably be Draymond.

"You better talk to my wife and see, who knows?" joked Izzo before practice on Saturday. "One more kid, or something, we could do that. But if it is a parrot, if it is a talking parrot I would name him Draymond first. It wouldn't be somebody else, Draymond. It would be Draymond because Draymond can talk as we all know. If it is a talking parrot he has got the name. He has been special for me, special for our school. I think one of the more special guys in college basketball because he cares about everyone."

Green has often drawn comparisons greats like Cleaves and Earvin "Magic" Johnson because of his importance to the Michigan State basketball program. In some ways, believes Izzo, Green has been asked to do more for the 2012 Michigan State basketball team than the icons that preceded him.

"What is different is that he is asked to do so many things," said Izzo. "You could argue that he even has to do more than Earvin did because you need him defensively and because he maybe does not have the crew around him. Although you could argue that the other way too. I would say that Draymond Green is definitely as Mateen says 'sitting at that table.' We never compare anybody to Earvin because he is on a different level. But if you look at the basketball played and I would even say the Big Ten, I don't know about every other conference. But I look at the players that have been in it, but as a complete player who does a lot of things he would in everybody's one of."

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