COMMENTARY| The leadership factor was Draymond Green's greatest attribute. His play-making ability, while also strong, was secondary.
Green, the 2012 Big Ten Player of the Year and Naismith Award finalist, will have to be replaced by the Michigan State Spartans this season. It won't be a walk in the park, either. However, it seems that a few players are willing to step up and at least try to do some of the things that Green did.
Now that Green is in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors, who picked him 35th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, the need for a replacement is all the more important. If that fails, maybe Spartans coach Tom Izzo could lobby the NCAA, asking it to allow Green to come back for one more year.
Bay City Western star Matt Costello says he's up for the challenge. Michigan's 2012 Mr. Basketball possesses at least some of the physical traits Green demonstrated during his four-year career with Michigan State. Costello is tough. So was Green. Costello is aggressive. So was Green.
"I'm not going to do everything Day-Day (Green) did his senior year, but I'm hoping to fill some of it, the majority of it, if I'm put in that role," Costello said. "I'm hoping I do."
The four-star, 6-foot-10 freshman was ranked 83rd in the 2012 class. He's gaining weight, grew an inch over the past year or so, and can shoot. He's nimble for such a large kid. It might not be impossible for him to replace what Green did in the paint. In fact, he may be better-equipped for it.
But again, it's the leadership that will be missed most. Green was an incredible leader.
Incoming forward Kenny Kaminski could also be a viable replacement -- in terms of having a body at the position -- for Green, who was in Flint on Saturday to talk to young athletes hoping to achieve success in basketball.
And, of course, Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix will be looked to carry the load as well.
Costello's eagerness to show that he can play bodes well for the Spartans' confidence. It remains to be seen just how effective he'll be on the floor. There's little doubt that the offense will be ran by Keith Appling this season. Nix's role as a senior will likely influence the whole team, while a handful of others can make contributions to forge the Spartans ahead.
But none of them are Green. And it doesn't sound like any are trying to be Green. But it does sound like everyone knows Green's absence will be the largest hurdle to vault -- one more difficult than any opponent.
Adam Biggers has followed NCAA basketball for over 20 years, specifically the Michigan State Spartans. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.