It wasn’t exactly what Draymond Green, coach Tom Izzo or Spartan fans were hoping for. But what was once highly unlikely, or perhaps unfathomable, became a reality Thursday night when the former Saginaw High standout heard his name called in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft.
The Golden State Warriors selected Michigan State’s former captain with the 35th pick Thursday, bringing closure to Green’s storied four-year career in East Lansing. The Warriors finished 23-38 in the 2011-12 season.
There were certainly mixed emotions Thursday considering many projected Green to go in the first round, but possible suitors including the Indianapolis Pacers, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, among others, opted to pass.
Not many saw pro potential in Green as a high school senior, but the man coach Tom Izzo affectionately referred to as Tragic Johnson transformed his body and skillset in his four years with the Spartans’ program.
A consensus first-team All-American, Green capped a memorable college career earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors as he helped the Spartans capture a share of the conference title. He was also named NABC’s National Player of the year, during which he averaged 16.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.
Green finished his career as MSU’s best all-time rebounder, grabbing 1,067 boards, and represents one of just three players in school history to tally 1,000 career points and rebounds. He also finished second all-time with 117 blocks and 180 steals.
Green played in two Final Fours, helping MSU reach the National Championship in Detroit as a true freshman off the bench. He becomes the first Spartan drafted since Goran Suton in 2009.