March 6, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State senior forward Draymond Green was named First-Team All-America by the Sporting News Tuesday. Green is the first Spartan to be honored by the magazine since Jason Richardson in 2001 (2nd Team) and just the 10th in program history. He is joined on the first team by Kentucky's Anthony Davis, Murray State's Isaiah Canaan, Kansas' Thomas Robinson and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger.
"It's an honor to be named an All-American, and have my name in the company of all the great players that have come before me at Michigan State; guys like Mateen Cleaves, Earvin Johnson, Steve Smith and all the rest," said Green. "Those guys had a huge impact on the current success of the program, and I'm just a product of what they built.
"It's a testament to all the hard work and determination that Coach instilled in me since I stepped on this campus. I have to credit this honor to my teammates and what they have accomplished, because without these guys battling with me everyday, I have no shot of receiving the honors that I have. I have the best teammates you could ever ask for, which allows me to play hard every game and be successful and I love them."
Besides Richardson, other Spartans honored by Sporting News include Morris Peterson (2000-1st Team), Mateen Cleaves (1999-2nd Team, 2000-1st Team), Shawn Respert (1995-1st Team), Steve Smith (1990-1st Team, 1991-1st Team), Scott Skiles (1986-1st Team), Sam Vincent (1985-1st Team), Earvin "Magic" Johnson (1979-1st Team), Johnny Green (1958-2nd Team, 1959-2nd Team). Green is the first Spartan to earn All-America honors of any type since Drew Neitzel was a second-team honoree by CBSSportsline.com and ESPN's Dick Vitale in 2007.
"Draymond has worked hard to get to where he is today, and he's done it the old-fashioned way," said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. "He came to Michigan State as a very good high school player, but didn't have a lot of hype surrounding him or lofty expectations from the outside. But he's done what a four-year player is supposed to do, and that's to get better each and every year. He reminds me of a guy like Shane Battier from our state that just kept getting better, and by his senior year was one of the top players in the country. Draymond is similar in that he just keeps adding elements to his game to become the player he is.
"I'm proud of the work ethic that he's shown that's allowed him to accomplish what he has on the court. But I'm even prouder of the leader he's been in the locker room, on the planes, and in our hotels. We've had success this year as a team just as much because of what he's done off the court as on it. Add in his work in the classroom, as he'll be honored at this year's Academic Gala, and it's clear that Draymond is not only a great representative for Spartan basketball, but also Michigan State University and the entire sport of college basketball."
Green is the only player to rank in the Top 10 in the Big Ten in scoring (6th), rebounding (1st) and assists (9th). He leads the Spartans in scoring (16.2 ppg), rebounding (10.3 rpg), steals (47), and 3-point field goals (45), while ranking second in assists (3.5 apg) and blocks (28). He's led MSU in rebounding in 25 of 31 games, including 16 of the 18 Big Ten contests. In five of the final 11 games of the season, Green led the Spartans in scoring, rebounding and assists. Further demonstrating his versatility, Green leads the nation with five games of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He paces the conference and ranks among the Top 10 nationally with 17 double-doubles. He's on track to become the first player from a power six conference to average 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists since Tim Duncan (Wake Forest) did it in 1997.
This is the latest in what is sure to be a growing list of individual honors for Green, who was selected Big Ten Player of the Year on Monday.
Sporting News' College Basketball awards are decided on by the publication's editorial staff in consultation with coaches and scouts around the country.