Saturday, October 16, 2021

Sports | Basketball

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U splits weekend series with Hoosiers

With a win Sunday, the MSU baseball team salvaged a split in its four-game series with Big Ten leader Indiana at Kobs Field.The Spartans (22-8 overall, 6-5 Big Ten) started slow Sunday, but outlasted the Hoosiers (26-8, 8-4) 10-6.

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Top recruit agrees to go green

The MSU basketball team received its first verbal commitment in a top 25 recruit for its 2003 recruiting class.Detroit DePorres junior point guard Brandon Cotton, widely considered a top prospect, told Spartan head coach Tom Izzo Monday that the two-year starter plans to don the green and white.Cotton said Izzo was the deciding factor in choosing MSU.“Coach Izzo wins a lot and produces good players,” Cotton said Monday night.

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Young and restless

When Kelvin Torbert, Alan Anderson and Chris Hill became MSU’s 2001 recruiting class, another Big Ten title and another trip deep into the NCAA Tournament seemed within reach, if not certain. Sure, the Spartans would lose five seniors, but the trio of recruits would help ease the blow. Torbert, an electrifying scorer, was the 2001 Sporting News Player of the Year, Michigan’s Mr. Basketball and Flint’s second all-time leading scorer - behind ex-Spartan Charlie Bell - with his 1,978 career points at Flint Northwestern High. Anderson, a silky and versatile slasher, rated the No.

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Mid-major teams hang together, make impact

A Saluki is defined as an ancient breed of dog with a keen sense of vision used in hunting. A Southern Illinois Saluki is an ancient breed of basketball player, using its maturity and experience in the NCAA Tournament to knock off some of the biggest names in college coaching. The sixth-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders and head coach Bobby Knight fell prey to the mighty Salukis in the first round of the tournament.

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Death of the 4-year superstar

Inside his office in the new Berkowitz Basketball Complex, MSU men’s basketball associate head coach Brian Gregory sat and listened to my questions about the state of college basketball. “Can you think of any recent superstar-type players who turned down the NBA and came back for their senior year?” I asked. “Here at Michigan State you have to look at Mateen (Cleaves) and Morris Peterson, because those two guys had the opportunity to leave early,” Gregory said.

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Spartan coaches recruited by top programs

While this year’s Spartan men’s basketball team didn’t achieve the same success as its predecessors, who earned trips to three consecutive Final Fours, faces from the program’s recent history still are making noise in March. Former MSU assistant coach Stan Heath announced his resignation as the head coach at Kent State on Thursday to take the helm as head coach at Arkansas. That decision came as other current Spartan assistant coaches discuss their potential futures as leaders of other programs. Associate head coach Brian Gregory has spoken with DePaul and Bradley about their coaching vacancies, athletics department spokesman John Lewandowski said. Neither Bradley nor DePaul spokespersons could be reached for comment. Many major universities have turned to the MSU pedigree possessed by current and former assistant coaches. Nabbing Heath to be the Razorback coach spawned Arkansas Chancellor John White to excitedly pass out Heath candy bars to everyone attending the news conference. Heath, 37, got the 10th-seeded Golden Flashes within one game of the Final Four, losing 81-69 to the Indiana Hoosiers last Saturday in the South Regional final. “It’s been a whirlwind,” Heath said Thursday at a Fayetteville, Ark., press conference.

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Spartan considers going professional

In what seems to be becoming an annual event, another member of the Spartan men’s basketball team will leave MSU early and enter his name into the NBA Draft. But unlike when ex-Spartans Jason Richardson and Zach Randolph declared for the NBA Draft at the end of the 2000-2001 season, sophomore guard Marcus Taylor’s announcement on Tuesday to declare for the draft is anything but definite. “Becoming an NBA player has been one of my goals for a long time,” Taylor said in a written statement.

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Coaches plan to break down Torberts play

With another MSU recruit, Rochester High’s Paul Davis, becoming the latest Mr. Basketball award winner Monday, next year’s Spartan men’s basketball team will likely include the state’s past three winners - Davis, freshman guard Kelvin Torbert and sophomore guard Marcus Taylor. But the state’s highest prep accolade doesn’t guarantee instant success as a Spartan, and MSU head coach Tom Izzo said Torbert will spend the off-season working on returning his game to an elite level. “I think he’ll make some improvements and hopefully, they’ll be big improvements,” Izzo said.

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U recruit named Mr. Basketball

Michigan’s Mr. Basketball will be a Spartan for the fourth straight year. Paul Davis, a member of the MSU’s 2002 recruiting class, follows in the footsteps of Jason Richardson, Marcus Taylor and Kelvin Torbert. The Basketball Coaches Association, in conjunction with the Detroit Free Press, named Davis the 22nd annual Hal Schram Mr. Basketball recipient Monday. Davis, a 6-foot-10 center from Rochester High, received 760 points, while Anthony Roberson of Saginaw High got 382 points and Lester Abram of Pontiac Northern High received 269. Davis won the award despite breaking his right ankle 16 games into his senior season.

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Frustration peaks for U

Washington - Following a disappointing 69-58 loss to North Carolina State in Friday’s first round of the NCAA Tournament, MSU men’s basketball associate head coach Brian Gregory quietly sat in the corner of the Spartans’ locker room.With his head in his hands, suit jacket off and tie slightly loosened, Gregory searched for a reason why the Spartans were exiting the tournament after one game for the first time since 1995.“You start wondering, ‘Did we really just run out of gas?’ ” he said.The last time Gregory and the Spartans (19-12) were in the MCI Center locker room, the mood was much different.At halftime, MSU owned a 12-point lead at 30-18 after forcing the Wolfpack (23-11) offense to 6-of-24 shooting.Gregory said the defensive effort in the opening half made the loss even more disappointing.“Anytime you defend as well as you did in the first half and you go out and don’t defend as well in the second half, there’s going to be frustration,” he said.But the exhausted, disappointed, angry and frustrated looks on the faces of his players had to be there.“I think if you don’t see frustration, you have to worry about what kind of kids you have,” he said.One Spartan who had been in the locker room after numerous tournament wins, junior forward Al Anagonye, said he knows he won’t forget being ousted from the tournament this early.“If it doesn’t (bother you), you shouldn’t play at Michigan State,” Anagonye said.

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Spartans close season

Washington - Despite a 69-58 loss to North Carolina State in Friday’s first round of the NCAA Tournament, Tom Izzo asked his players to savor the moment. With 44 seconds remaining and MSU trailing 67-55 at MCI Center, Izzo called a timeout.

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NBA offers little in development for Marcus Taylor

Dear Marcus Taylor, I know we’ve both heard speculation about your future at MSU. And while you might be considering leaving school early for the NBA, I ask you to stay put. This isn’t for my benefit, really - it’s for your own good. I understand why entering the NBA Draft might sound like a good idea to you.

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SPORTS UPDATE: Wolfpack dominate Spartans in paint

Washington - In the game of basketball, size and strength play large roles, and the Spartans held a distinct advantage over North Carolina State in each category.But it was the Wolfpack (23-11) who prevailed 69-58 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at MCI Center on Friday.The smaller N.C.