June 21, 2012
By Lia Crawford
Winning Athlete of the Year in a conference like the Big 10, with many tough athletes in a variety of sports, may give the recipient an ego that cannot be handled. This is most definitely not the case for Draymond Green who is the epitome of confident but commendably humble.
Green’s appreciation for the honor was not scarce and he did not take all of the credit for the prestigious Jesse Owens award. Instead he said, “It was a great feeling, it was definitely unexpected. To win an award like that, it’s hard to put it into words. Never did I think I’d win it. I wasn’t able to do it by myself, the coaching staff and my teammates were a huge part of me winning the award.”
After his four years at Michigan State, Green’s relationships with coach Tom Izzo and his various teammates made the Michigan State Spartans a family, rather than just a basketball team. With such a highly respected coach and Coach of the Year for the Big 10, Green learned from Izzo both on and off the court.
He said, “Playing for Coach Izzo was great. He taught me so much dealing with basketball but the thing about Coach Izzo, when you play for him he really teaches you even more. It’s more than basketball, he teaches you everything. He builds relationships to last a lifetime and he taught me how to be a man.”
Playing in the Big 10 under Izzo has not only matured Green as a basketball player, but it’s matured him as a person. He speaks way beyond his years and has a strong grasp on what it takes to succeed in the draft process and in the NBA. Green feels that the Big 10 physicality has prepared him for the toughness of the next level.
Green has stayed true to his game and who he is during the draft process thus far. His mentality about workouts is unlike other players, and he doesn’t work to sell himself because he feels as though his game speaks for itself. He has gone into his many workouts with teams looking to play his hardest and show teams his hard work ethic and strong ability.
Instead of stating what specifically he’d like to show teams in the workouts, Green said, “It’s not about me going in there trying to show off my strengths because at the end of the day, playing in these workouts doesn’t show what you can do five on five. I think the most important thing is just making sure that I’m competing at the highest level and just working hard. I think that’s the most important thing, communication, competing and working hard in each and every workout.”
His mentality about his workouts carries over into his view of the draft process in general. Though he has been used to flying private planes during his time at Michigan State, the change to commercial has been an easy adaptation for Green. Though the layovers, delays, security lines and lack of leg room for the 6’7” player can take a toll, he is taking it all in and enjoying the process. However, his focus isn’t on the travelling, he takes it day by day and focuses on what he needs to do to put himself in the best position for the draft on June 28th.
The constant media attention hasn’t been the focus for Green either, he said, “I let my game speak for itself, I don’t go out trying to prove something. I just go out and play the game, the questions that people have about me I just let them answer themselves.”
The mock draft speculations, however, can be hard to keep his eyes off of. He said, “I’m a basketball player so I definitely read all that stuff but I read that stuff before it was even about me. In regards to if they’ve got me in the top twenty or if somebody has me going late in the second round, I don’t pay attention to any of it because at the end of the day, that all means nothing. That’s all about media opinion but when its all said and done its about what a team needs and what they’re looking for.”
Teams can expect a lot from Green who said he is willing to play any position that they need him to play. Whether his future team wants Green to take on the three or four position, he said he’d embrace any role and do the best job that he possibly can. He plans on doing all of the little things that it takes to win, which in this day and age isn’t always the case. For Green, it will be the case every night on the court where he’ll give 100 percent effort and do everything in his power to win.
So what keeps Green going at such a high intensity in his workouts and every day life? Self-motivation. He gives himself the drive to succeed and though he’ll be with his family and friends on draft night, he said he’d like to watch the draft in a room alone until he hears his name called.
“Its not about somebody inspiring me, I’m a very self motivated person,” Green said, “This has been a lifetime dream of mine so just to be in this position I don’t need any added extra motivation or someone to inspire me. I just work hard regardless of what the situation is; even if I’m tired I’m going to work hard. I don’t really need anyone to push me or someone to motivate me or inspire me because I inspire myself everyday because this is what I’ve wanted to do my whole life.”
Green’s confidence and his way of staying true to himself and his game are admirable. With his strong basketball skills, Green is bound to be successful in the league and with his humble ways he is also poised to be a fan favorite.
One thing we can be sure of, draft night will not be the last night we hear the name Draymond Green.