Branden Dawson: How the Freshman Can Help Michigan State

Matt SheehanAnalyst IApril 13, 2011

Now that March Madness is all said and done and players are preparing themselves for the upcoming draft, we can start looking forward to the next college basketball season.

The biggest question on every campus is “how will the new recruits help us this year?”

After coming off of a rocky season, this question remains huge for the Michigan State Spartans, and all eyes will be on five-star recruit Branden Dawson to help the green and white get back on their feet.

Does Dawson have the skills and mentality to bring State back up, or is he just another over-hyped player waiting to bust in college?


How Branden Dawson (SF) will improve Michigan State

If Dawson plays as physical and aggressive as he did in his high school in Gray, Ind., then Dawson will make an immediate impact in the post.

Outside of the post, Dawson is known to drive to the rim hard and is an outstanding finisher through contact— which is exactly what State needs.

After losing Durrell Summers last year, the Spartans are without a big man to drive straight to the rim in a half-court offense. Dawson can fill that hole.

What really catches my eye is how good of a rebounder he is and what he does after he grabs the boards.

When Dawson snags a rebound he looks to take the ball coast-to-coast, and this could possibly put a spark back into the famous high-tempo offense that State lacked this past year and was a big reason for the Spartan struggles.

When it comes to defense, scouts have been really impressed by the way he can guard any perimeter position. If that proves to be true during transition defense as well, then Dawson can fill a void the Spartans badly need.

Dawson is also notoriously known for his tip-ins and tip-dunks, which could be vital in a game if the Spartans are in need of a momentum shifter.

Where Branden Dawson may slow down the Spartans

Like all great high school players entering college, Dawson does have a few skills he can work on.

Scouts see Dawson as more of a power forward than a shooting forward due to his lack of perimeter skills. But a shooting forward is what MSU desperately needs— having lost Summers and with Draymond Green moving around to various positions throughout the past year.

One other area that scouts are skeptical about is his shooting, but the Spartans aren't concerned about his ability to quickly learning new skills.

One big concern that lurches out is that Dawson tends to turn the ball over when pressure is put on him, and that’s the last thing Michigan State needs as they just came off a season with 454 turnovers.

So, what’s the verdict? Is he the real deal?

Absolutely— this kid is the real deal. He can start making positive changes immediately and will fit right into Michigan State's style of play.

The Spartans were a little less aggressive than usual last year, and provided he is a natural leader, Dawson can restore the fire that Michigan State fans are used to seeing on the court.

Averaging nearly 29 points and 19 rebounds per game in high school, I think Dawson will help Michigan State get back to elite status after a rough year.