'Special player': Draymond Green's No. 23 to be retired by Michigan State
East Lansing – Another jersey will hang from the rafters at the Breslin Center.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo announced Monday that former Spartan and current member of the Golden State Warriors Draymond Green will have his No. 23 retired during a ceremony on Dec. 3, the same night No. 1 Michigan State hosts No. 4 Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
“Draymond has been a special player,” Izzo said. “He’s a guy that’s always made other people better. I think that’s what our program stands for. He’s given me, personally, so much. The phone calls, the talks, the times I’ve gone out there. It’s been one of those relationships that are second to none to me, and to hoist his (uniform) up there will be a special night.”
Green will be the 10th player to have his number retired at Michigan State and No. 23 will be the ninth number – Johnny Green and Shawn Respert both wore the retired No. 24.
In his four seasons at Michigan State, Green scored 1,517 points, good for 18th all-time at MSU, and he helped the Spartans reach two Final Fours. As a senior in 2011-12, Green averaged 16.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game while being named national Player of the Year by the NABC and earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors.
A consensus first-team All-American that season, Green was then selected 35th overall by the Warriors. He’s gone on to win three NBA championships, make the All-Star Game three times and was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.
In 2015, Green donated $3.1 million to the basketball program, with most of the money being allocated to build the new weight room at the Breslin Center.
“Through all his success, he never forgot where he came from,” Izzo said. “Michigan State and Saginaw have been very important to him. He wants to do all he can do as evidenced with the money he gave here and the things he’s done up in Saginaw.
“He’s always talking to our players about helping them achieve what he’s done, and maybe the most important to me is my relationship with Draymond has been special. I could yell at him and he could yell at me. It was unique. Sometimes it was father-son, sometimes it was coach-player, and now it’s friend-friend.”
MSU retired numbers
4 – Scott Skiles
12 – Mateen Cleaves
21 – Steve Smith
24 – Johnny Green, Shawn Respert
31 – Jay Vincent
32 – Gregory Kelser
33 – Earvin “Magic” Johnson
42 – Morris Peterson