COMMENTARY| Former Saginaw High star Draymond Green is proof positive that a relentless work ethic, determination and selfless attitude can make dreams come true.
The High legend won back-to-back Michigan High School Athletic Association state titles (2007-2008) before going onto a productive four-year career at Michigan State. The sometimes unappreciated and overlooked forward -- at least by the mainstream media, not those who followed him -- proved naysayers wrong, earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors as a senior and consideration for the Naismith Award.
Green's story proves that a high school athlete can, without a five-star rating, reach the top. For those who chronicled Green's journey, it comes to no surprise that he was drafted into the NBA, taken 35th overall by the Golden State Warriors after slipping out of the first round.
Though he didn't become the Spartans' first first-rounder since Maurice Ager and Shannon Brown, who were taken in 2006, Green certainly has a productive NBA career ahead of him. He was a sure double-double his senior campaign, averaging about 16 points and 10 rebounds en route to leading the Spartans to the Sweet 16.
But his statistics don't tell the whole story. His leadership, matched by few at Michigan State, was his best attribute. Spartans basketball followers fell in love with Green's infectious personality, vocal command and will to be the best possible.
At 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, he wasn't the most athletic guy in the Big Ten. He wasn't even the most athletic at Michigan State. He improved his game year-by-year, slowly, but surely, earning the respect of national analysts, although they just "found out" about Green as a senior. Big Ten fans already knew Green was a special player, complimented by opposing coaches for his maturity and development.
I can't speak for Green, but I'd venture to guess that he'd tell youngsters not to get caught up on ratings. He'd probably tell them to focus on their own development and let the rest fall into place. Dreams can come true. And Green, who will be remembered as one of the greatest Spartans ever, is a testament to that notion.
Adam Biggers has followed basketball for over 20 years, specifically the Michigan State Spartans. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.
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