Tom Izzo is a master of getting the best out of his players — regardless of if they want to give it their all or not. Branden Dawson has been a project for Izzo thus far in his career and that project is not quite finished yet. Dawson has been considering an early jump to the NBA, but he shouldn’t be doing so just yet.
With one of the best stretches of games in his career, Dawson has elevated his draft stock drastically in recent weeks, going from undrafted to a mid-to-late second round pick.
Finally living up to expectations, Dawson still has a little ways to go before he reaches his full potential under Izzo. Coming into Michigan State, the guard/forward was expected to be a superstar, but injuries have hampered his progress, giving him two underachieving seasons at MSU, but a third season has done him well.
In his junior year, other than frustration-caused injury, Dawson stepped his game up big time. He upped his numbers in every single category including points per game, rebounds, free throw percentage and field goal percentage.
Playing more minutes, scoring more points and grabbing more rebounds has made people think twice about Dawson’s future.
Will he be effective at the next level? Yes. Is he ready to leave right now? No.
Michigan State needs Dawson just as much as Dawson needs Michigan State. He’s not mature enough to declare for the draft and he would do himself a huge favor by staying for his senior season, contending for a national title and consistently showing that he can be a 15 points and 10 rebounds type of player.
If he stays, he could be a mid-to-late first round pick — on the verge of a lottery pick based on potential — in 2015. Stay another year at Michigan State, learn from Izzo and develop a mid-range jumper and Dawson will be a star at the next level — and he will get paid like one.
Connor Muldowney is the Content Associate for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.