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More from MSU basketball media day: Nix, Byrd and Dawson, and one telling dunk and another it’d be nice to see

For a reporter, Michigan State basketball media day is information/opportunity/creativity overload.

There are plethora of intriguing story lines, all available at once after six months away, many prompted by a coach (that’d be Tom Izzo) who embraces the microphone as much as his counterpart in football (i.e. Mark Dantonio) appears to detest it.

It takes a minute to adjust.

Possibly the most important two narratives from the day were and are the ‘freakish’ recovery from an ACL tear by Branden Dawson and his potential impact, and the surprising captaincy choices of Derrick Nix and, perhaps more so, Russell Byrd.

I hope so, at least. Because that’s what Joe Rexrode and I wrote about for this audience.

Nix, to me, is a compelling character to write. I find him genuine and interesting, more so than most athletes I’ve covered. And wrote about him quite a bit at my previous employer, the last time, immediately after the press conference in which Izzo announced Nix had been reinstated to the program following his April 3 arrest.

I spoke with Nix once this summer, for a few minutes at the Moneyball summer pro-am league in Lansing. It struck me how open and engaging he was, harboring no ill will, even after having his reputation dragged through the mud, albeit much of his own doing (though some of it, in my opinion, media overkill). He took responsibility. Sounded at peace with what had been said and written about him, saying he deserved all of it.

He came across as captain-worthy that day. Apparently his teammates and Izzo were getting a similar vibe.

There are a bevy of other stories heading into the season, discussed to some degree Tuesday:

  • Travis Trice being set back almost two months this summer by a bacterial infection or parasite, never fully diagnosed.
  • Izzo’s intention to keep Keith Appling at point guard, while freshman dizzying assist man Denzel Valentine finds his minutes as a sub or on the wing.
  • Izzo’s plan to run-and-gun more than he has in years, with better depth of talent than any of his teams probably since 2000-01, according to assistant Mike Garland.
  • The would-be starting lineup if the season began today, which includes both Nix and Adreian Payne, as well as Dawson, with Appling at the point. The fifth spot is up for grabs. Here’s guessing it’s freshman Gary Harris, since it’s likely a shooting guard and Izzo said Harris is living up to his billing and then some during team workouts.

Speaking of Harris and (finally) getting more into to the headline of this blog …

There are two dunks, digitally recorded and stored on computers in MSU’s basketball offices, that I hope find their way onto YouTube or Twitter or, better yet, this website.

One of them received plenty of buzz Tuesday. Amid all the talk about Byrd, the biggest sign he’s healthy might be his dunk in practice over (or by) Dawson — the extent of the posterizing depending on which story you believe.

“I did dunk on Dawson,” Byrd said, laughing but serious.

When told Dawson says Byrd dunked “around him,” Byrd replied, “I dunked on him. He can say what he wants, it’s all love.

“You guys, no one has seen me healthy, so it might surprise you guys.”

Byrd then shifted the conversation to another dunk …

“Everybody went nuts, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t go as nuts as when Garry Harris dunked on Matt Costello. That was nasty. That was disgusting.”

Byrd’s ensuing description is one of the best of a dunk I’ve ever heard.

“I think he got his head above the rim, then he hit Costello and went higher, and stopped because he didn’t know what to do, so he just kind of put (the ball) in and floated down. … It’s pretty special stuff.”

I’d like to see that. I think we all would. How about sending it out via Twitter, @MSU_Basketball?

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25 Responses to More from MSU basketball media day: Nix, Byrd and Dawson, and one telling dunk and another it’d be nice to see

  1. avatar USMCSpartanRet says:

    I think that we are in a lot of trouble this year. I do not think that we can compete with Michigan.

    • avatar MSU Own Denard says:

      wow, the stalker returns. scUM has to worry about competing with OHIO! HAHHHAHHAHA

    • avatar headeast says:

      U-M basketball=over-rated…

    • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

      Rumor. In honor of it’s infatuation with the past UM is going to join the Big East scrapyard of basketball as replacement for Notre Dame. It is also believed in Ann Arbor that their football mediocrity will shine much brighter amongst the bottom dwelling D1 programs in that conference. Hog killing Rutgers is expected to be their main competition. The “Harvard” of the west feels it can easily handle the “Princeton” of the Jersey Shore. They are looking forward to hooking up with the women of Jersey Shore who are so superior to the UM variety.

      • avatar USMCSpartanRet says:

        I think that Graham Couch is the answer to all our prayers , he sees Spartan Sports as they really are not through Rose Bowl colored glasses. I would not be surprised to see him on BTN as a guest contributor in the near future.
        I am a retired marine and I approved this message.

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      Anyone who know my handle, knows this is goose poop.

      As far as Bloggin with the Cracker, I employ the philosophy that arguing with an idiot is a total waste of time because he will inevitably drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

    • avatar Jmr says:

      Good one. You must be talking about your fantasy X box league. Good luck

  2. avatar CSpartan says:

    You are not a very convincing imposter. Be man enough to represent yourself and your own opinions and also stop pretending to be a former member of our services. Have a little honor.

  3. avatar Graham Couch says:

    So, here’s the response on seeing the video of Harris’ dunk over Costello, via https://twitter.com/MSU_Basketball: “Come to Midnight Madness and see the dunks in person! Friday – 9:30 P.M. – FREE”

    Maybe we can ask Harris to recreate the dunk.

  4. avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

    Nice article on the captains today. Good work. Very informative. Clears up my surprise at Byrd’s election. Apparently has his teammates respect like Isaiah Dahlman did. For his sake I hope he gets the chance to lead on the floor although the off floor leadership is probably more important.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      Appreciate it. He’s a terrific quote, so I hope he plays, too.

    • avatar mike says:

      Also Ghost of Biggy, be sure to turn the sound down on your television Oct 20 and listen to Brandstatter and Beckman call the game, know you are sore but made $20 bucks today off the marine.

      • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

        Does the name Quicken Loans Lurker mean anything to you. You could lose your access to the Yellow Urinal mints over your impersonations.

      • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

        those two guys are too busy eating eachother up to make any sense on the radio, perfect scUM announcers…

  5. avatar puttae says:

    Unfortunate, but all signs on Young to commit to Kentucky tomorrow.

  6. avatar NJ Rob says:

    If MSU can get a few more guys shooting the three-ball consistently, watch out.

  7. avatar The Tanner says:

    Bird throw down baby !!!

    Costello got abbotted baby !!!

    Apps play point baby !!!

    The Tanner bring the goods baby !!!

  8. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Tigers up 1-0.

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