Drew Neitzel appears to have done himself some good at the NBA pre-draft camp. Fox Sports reports the following:
Drew Neitzel, 6-0, 180, PG, Michigan State, Sr.: He put his name into serious consideration with a good performance. He was able to show his range, but also good ability to knock down pull-ups from mid-range with guys closing on him. What impressed the most was his nice ability to get to the basket. He has a wide variety of shot fakes mixed in with some jerky dribble moves that allows him to get by the defender.
Also, we now have more quantitative data about Neitzel (courtesy of Rush the Court) than I could have ever dreamed one could compile regarding a basketball player. Among other metrics, he’s 5’11 3/4 without his shoes on (just a quarter inch short of 6 feet!), weight 176 pounds, can jump 25 1/2 inches from a standing position, and has 6.2% body fat. College Fast Break notes that his wing span of 6’2 1/4 is short, even for a small guard. On a positive note, it appears he’s really strong. He put up 10 bench press reps (of 225 pounds?)–one more than Brian Butch! Last but not least, Neitzel is a good sport.
We wish a speedy recovery to Coach Heathcote, who underwent double bypass surgery a couple weeks ago–and who recently turned 81. (Hat tip to reader Harry C. on this one.)
Here’s a somewhat bizarre story: A Spartan was apparently under consideration for the still-vacant Chicago Bulls head coaching position in the last couple weeks, but it wasn’t Tom Izzo. It was Eric Snow, who is still technically an active player with the Cavaliers (indications are he will retire due to a knee injury). Snow definitely seems like coaching material, but when’s the last time somewhat went straight from being a player to a coach in the NBA? Bill Russell?
The South Bend Tribune has an interesting piece on Michigan coach John Beilein. Beilein is quite forthright about how he views his program relative to the MSU program:
“I think we have to admire them and copy them a little bit and say, listen, what’s made them so good?” Beilein said. “We haven’t been in the (NCAA) tournament for 10 years, they haven’t missed the tournament for 10 years. We have to look at that and say, ‘Why is that happening?’ We have to say, ‘OK, what are they doing that we can do, whether it’s facilities, whether it’s marketing, all those types of things.’
“We have to work hard to play catch-up, knowing that if you just continue to do it the right way, you can catch up,” Beilein continued. “I think it adds to the flavor of college basketball in the state that that rivalry exists. If you’re in Minnesota and there’s not the other team, there’s no measuring stick. Michigan State is a great measuring stick for us.”
It speaks well of Beilein that he views MSU as a model, rather than focusing solely on the rivalry aspect of the relationship between the two programs. And he’s right that having two major programs in the state is ultimately good for both teams. It creates some recruiting battles, to be sure, but the positive thing is that, even as the Michigan program improves, Beilein and Izzo won’t necessarily be going after the same guys much of the time because their teams play such different styles (perimeter shooting/zone defense vs. up-tempo/rebounding/man-to-man).