Northern Michigan University men’s basketball assistant coach Charles Belt joined the SportsPen with Blake Froling and Jake Durant to talk about the Wildcats’ upcoming exhibition game with Michigan State on Tuesday, October 30.
MARQUETTE, Mich. — Northern Michigan Men’s Basketball will tip-off the 2018-19 season by visiting Michigan State University in an exhibition game Tuesday, October 30.
“We are extremely excited and thankful to be to playing Michigan State this season,” Head Coach Bill Sall sald. “Coach Izzo has been very supportive of the NMU Basketball program and I can’t thank him enough for giving our team this awesome opportunity. It is my hope that we will be able to attract a large group of alumni and NMU fans to meet us at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center.”
This will be the sixth matchup between the Wildcats and Spartans, and just the second meeting since the 1975-76 season. NMU visited Michigan State to begin the 2015-16 season.
NMU enters this year coming off a season that saw the team post a winning record plus a return to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. The Wildcats return a majority of their 2017-18 squad, including two First Team All-GLIAC selections, seniors Naba Echols (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) and Isaiah Johnson (Whitefish Bay, Wis.), and All-Defense Team honorees in juniors Myles Howard (Chicago, Ill./Marian Catholic) and Sam Taylor (Chicago, Ill./Thornton).
Ticket information and game time will be provided at a later date.
Courtesy of Northern Michigan University athletics
By Blake Froling
Now that fall practice is starting and we’re less than a month away from real, live college football, it’s time to get riled up by preseason polls.
The Amway Coaches Poll was released Thursday afternoon and featured the usual suspects — Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State — at the top. Michigan State was voted No. 12 and Michigan came in two spots behind at No. 14.
The Spartans and Wolverines were two of the five Big Ten teams selected in the top 15, along with Ohio State (3), Wisconsin (7) and Penn State (9). Northwestern also received votes.
Looking ahead, Michigan State will play three ranked opponents this season and Michigan will face five, including the season opener in South Bend against No. 11 Notre Dame.
The Big Ten, SEC and Big 12 each had five teams voted into the poll, while the ACC had four and the PAC-12 had three. University of Central Florida, the self-proclaimed “national champions,” were ranked No. 23.
Others receiving votes: South Carolina 138, Florida 135, Oregon 105, Utah 81, Texas A&M 67, Northwestern 67, Kansas State 35, Florida Atlantic 27, Memphis 23, Boston College 23, NC State 22, Arkansas State 19, Troy 19, Appalachian State 16, San Diego State 15, Kentucky 8, Iowa State 8, Iowa 8, Washington State 7, South Florida 6, Duke 5, Fresno State 4, Louisville 3, Arizona 2, Houston 2, Army 1, Northern Illinois 1
Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images
Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
CHICAGO — Michigan State linebacker Jon Reschke, who made racially insensitive comments about a teammate in January 2017 and left the program soon after, is back on the Spartans roster and may return this season.
Coach Mark Dantonio said Tuesday that Reschke, a starter in 2015, is taking the necessary steps toward a return this season but has permanently lost his scholarship. Dantonio said he’s largely leaving Reschke’s status up to the players.
“I talked to our football team and our players and said, ‘Hey, if you guys want him back, then you have to bring him back,'” Dantonio said Tuesday. “It has to be a decision made by our African-American players, led by them, and they have to support that.”
In a February 2017 statement announcing his decision to transfer from Michigan State, Reschke apologized for an “insensitive and totally regrettable comment involving a former teammate. In so doing, I have hurt and offended countless number of people, and for that, I am deeply sorry. If I could take my comment back, I would do so in a second.”
Reschke ultimately did not leave for another program and suffered a knee injury that kept him out for the 2017 season. He received approval for a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA, citing the injuries he had in both 2016, when he appeared in just two games, and 2017. Reschke has 101 career tackles playing for MSU between 2014 and 2016.
Dantonio brought up the idea of Reschke’s return to the team in January and has checked in with players each month. Reschke participated in some of the team’s offseason conditioning program.
“I’m hopefully allowing healing to take place among our players,” Dantonio said. “We’ll take a step-by-step approach. He’s not on scholarship, nor will he be on scholarship. He paid the ultimate price by being out of football for a year.”
Dantonio later added: “All indications from our players are they do want him in camp.”
Photo: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire
Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes have reloaded and are our early pick to defend their title as Big Ten champions. Here are ESPN.com’s preseason Big Ten power rankings:
1. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes finished atop the Big Ten last season and are returning 15 total starters from last season’s team. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins showed promise in his limited time, completing 40 of his 57 passes and throwing four touchdowns in the process. Haskins has an opportunity to shine this season and help lead Ohio State back to the conference championship game. Nick Bosa should help lead a defense that lost quite a bit to the NFL, but defensive backs Kendall Sheffield, Jeffrey Okudah and Jordan Fuller should all be poised to take on bigger roles and pick up the slack in the secondary.
2. Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers lose some big contributors on defense, including Conor Sheehy, Derrick Tindal and Natrell Jamerson, but there is still a lot left to like. After finishing 13-1 last season, with the only loss to Ohio State in the conference championship game, quarterback Alex Hornibrook returns some of his bigger weapons, including running back Jonathan Taylor. The sophomore broke records last season and finished third in rushing yards behind only Rashaad Penny and Bryce Love. Taylor will have his entire offensive line returning to help propel his rushing stats even further this season, and potentially help launch the Badgers back to the league title game.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions
This was an interesting offseason for head coach James Franklin as he saw star running back Saquon Barkley get drafted No. 2 overall, his offensive coordinator and running backs coach leave for Mississippi State and his wide receivers coach leave for Alabama. On top of that, the Nittany Lions lose eight defensive starters, including linebacker Jason Cabinda and defensive backs Grant Haley, Marcus Allen and Troy Apke. But Franklin and staff have recruited so well the past few years that there is talent on the depth chart that should be able to come in and fill those gaps. Young stars such as Miles Sanders, Justin Shorter and Micah Parsons can rise fast and help keep Penn State among the Big Ten’s best programs.
4. Michigan State Spartans
This one might cause some debate between Spartans and Wolverines, but Michigan State loses only four total starters from last season. That team had 10 wins and brings back one of the more important pieces in quarterback Brian Lewerke. All of Lewerke’s offensive weapons are coming back, and the Spartans are really only replacing center Brian Allen on the offensive side. Defensively, linebacker Joe Bachie and defensive back Josiah Scott should be able to build off strong 2017 campaigns, which will make Michigan State tough to beat in 2018.
5. Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines once again have the talent to contend for a Big Ten title, but four years into the Jim Harbaugh era they have to start proving it on the field before they climb any higher in the rankings. The defense returns bona fide NFL prospects at all three levels and should once again be good enough to keep any game close. Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson — the front-runner to take over at quarterback — and some new blood on the coaching staff will be tasked with jump-starting an offense that struggled in 2017.
6. Northwestern Wildcats
Clayton Thorson returns as the Big Ten’s most experienced quarterback, but he’ll have to up his game without his old backfield partner and the Wildcats’ all-time leading rusher, Justin Jackson. If the coaching staff finds a way to replace a couple of big losses in the secondary, Northwestern’s defense should have the strength to dictate field position and the pace of many of its games. Pat Fitzgerald’s program has averaged nine wins in each of the past three seasons and should remain a team to be wary of in 2018.
7. Iowa Hawkeyes
The steady Hawkeyes finished last season in third place in the West, and that’s where they start 2018. Leading rusher Akrum Wadley is gone, as are three fast, veteran linebackers, headlined by All-American Josey Jewell. This season’s Iowa team will have to lean more on its deep defensive line and its passing game. Nathan Stanley returns at quarterback and has a pair of sturdy tight ends (Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson) to serve as a good foundation for moving the ball through the air.
8. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Scott Frost’s arrival makes the Cornhuskers one of the country’s most interesting teams to watch at the start of the season. With a first-year starter at quarterback (redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia and freshman Adrian Martinez are front-runners in the upcoming training-camp battle), it might take some time for the talent level and the understanding of Frost’s new offense to match the level of excitement in Lincoln. Not to mention that the new staff got saddled with having to play Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan from the East this fall. Playmakers like Stanley Morgan Jr. and JD Spielman make Nebraska a dangerous opponent for schools with title hopes.
9. Purdue Boilermakers
Jeff Brohm did a remarkable job getting Purdue to a bowl game — and a bowl victory — in Year 1. Momentum is building in Boiler Country, and Brohm’s offense once again should be fun and productive. Quarterbacks Elijah Sindelar and David Blough both return from major injuries, along with a deep running backs group and wideout Jackson Anthrop. But Purdue lost almost all of its top contributors on defense, a vastly underrated unit that became stingy in Big Ten play and helped the team to bowl eligibility. Purdue will score a lot, but it also probably will give up a lot unless it can build around lineman Lorenzo Neal Jr. and linebacker Markus Bailey.
10. Indiana Hoosiers
Tom Allen’s first season as Hoosiers coach featured four single-digit losses and no bowl game. To close the gap, Allen will rely on young players, particularly with a defense returning only four starters and just one in the front seven. Allen is a terrific defensive coach, but the personnel situation will test him. Indiana has some nice pieces on offense with running back Morgan Ellison and wide receivers Luke Timian and Nick Westbrook, who returns from an ACL tear after a 54-catch season in 2016. The immediate question is quarterback as Peyton Ramsey, who started four games last season and will compete with Arizona graduate transfer Brandon Dawkins and others for the starting job.
11. Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Gophers probably will get younger this season, as P.J. Fleck wants to get an upgraded recruiting class into the mix sooner than later. Fleck is playing the long game at Minnesota, which was exposed for much of Big Ten play last fall. The Gophers need to build their passing game behind a yet-to-be-determined new quarterback (Tanner Morgan or Zack Annexstad) after finishing 121st nationally in pass offense last fall. Senior running back Rodney Smith is a reliable producer, and the defensive backfield should be a strength with Antoine Winfield Jr. returning from a hamstring issue. But Minnesota might be a year away from a substantial step forward.
12. Maryland Terrapins
A promising start disintegrated in coach D.J. Durkin’s second season last fall as injuries at quarterback took a huge toll — first with the loss of Tyrrell Pigrome in the season-opening victory over Texas and then when Kasim Hill went down in Week 4. They’re both back, as is Max Bortenschlager, who started eight games in 2017. Much-traveled Matt Canada is in as offensive coordinator. Defensively, the Terps might get a boost from high-profile transfers Byron Cowart and Marcus Lewis, formerly of Auburn and Florida State, respectively.
13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
The Scarlet Knights enter camp after the recent dismissal of two key players on defense amid a potential scandal involving a reported credit-card scam that could derail this season before it starts. Third-year coach Chris Ash brings back some talent on defense, led by senior linebacker Deonte Roberts, and might start a true freshman at QB in Artur Sitkowski, once pledged to Miami (Fla.). Aside from a Week 2 visit to Ohio State, the early schedule is manageable ahead of a brutal stretch in November.
14. Illinois Fighting Illini
Things went from bad in coach Lovie Smith’s first season to worse in his second year with the Illini. That is the nature of a complete rebuild, but patience will wear thin if Illinois fails to show notable improvement this fall with a youthful roster that features promising skill at running back with Mike Epstein and the return from multiple injuries of veteran wideout Mike Dudek. Defensive end Bobby Roundtree and safety Bennett Williams are back as talented sophomores.
Photo: AP Photo/Michael Conroy
Dan Murphy, ESPN Staff Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State interim president John Engler decided the university had no need to conduct a national search for a new athletic director after receiving feedback on interim leader and longtime Spartans employee Bill Beekman.
Engler and a host of other Michigan State brass formally introduced Beekman as the school’s new permanent athletic director Monday morning.
Engler cited Beekman’s “calming presence” and his ability to handle legal and business matters as reasons for offering him the job.
“I think we could have looked across the country and been hard-pressed to find somebody that knows Michigan State the way Bill does with the qualities he has,” Engler said. “We ended up not needing to do a national search.”
Engler asked Beekman to serve as the interim athletic director in February shortly after he took over as the university’s interim president. The two men replaced former president Lou Anna Simon and former athletic director Mark Hollis after both resigned during the last week of January, the same week that dozens of sexual assault survivors chastised Michigan State in court for its culture and its administration’s response to sexual assault and violence against women.
Simon resigned the day former university doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in state prison for abusing his patients. Hollis resigned two days later, hours before an Outside the Lines report that detailed a pattern of denial, inaction and information suppression surrounding reports of assault involving Michigan State athletics.
Beekman said he plans to be “laser-focused” on the success of student-athletes in his role as athletic director. He said the university and the athletic department must do better to build a culture that places a priority on health, safety and wellness of its students in the wake of the Nassar scandal, which he referred to as some of the “darkest” years in Michigan State history.
The university has started a formal search process to replace Engler as the university’s president. He said Monday that he did not consider leaving the decision to hire a permanent athletic director for his eventual replacement.
Beekman is a Michigan State graduate who has worked at the university since 1995 in a variety of posts. He served as the secretary of the board of trustees, the executive director of the alumni association and an assistant dean for the College of Human Medicine, among other roles.
A month after assigning Beekman to a temporary role in the athletic department, Engler said he planned to conduct a national search for a new voice to lead Michigan State’s athletic department on a permanent basis. Members of Michigan State’s faculty, student body and community have held protests and signed petitions in the past six months asking the administration to hire outsiders to bring a fresh perspective to the university as it attempts to change its culture.
Engler said Monday that Beekman can “check the box” when it comes to providing a fresh perspective because his last 23 years at the university hasn’t included any previous work in athletics. Beekman said that improving the culture on campus is a “very, very high priority for me.”
“You can come up with all kinds of policies and procedures that can collect dust on the shelf, but you really have to believe it in your heart,” he said. “You have to think about it every day as you go through your day. That’s the culture piece.”
To those disappointed that Michigan State did not consider candidates from outside of East Lansing for the position, Beekman said: “Give us six months or a year and re-assess. I think you’ll be pleased.”
Beekman received unanimous support from the school’s board of trustees, according to chairman Brian Breslin. Football coach Mark Dantonio, men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo and women’s basketball coach Suzy Merchant also provided votes of confidence for their new boss.
Dantonio said Beekman has been a unifying force for the athletic department in the past six months. Izzo said Beekman has been a good listener, a man of integrity and someone who understand the complexity of being a modern-day athletic director. He also stressed the importance of all of the university’s leaders agreeing on Beekman’s appointment.
“I think this time right now unanimous decisions are imperative as we heal and try to advance,” Izzo said.
Beekman, who has kept a low profile in his five months as an interim director, said he was initially surprised when Engler asked him to take over on a temporary basis in February because of his lack of experience in athletics. He said he has received help from fellow Big Ten athletic directors and conference commissioner Jim Delany in getting up to speed.
“As I met with the coaches and met with the student-athletes, it really became very rewarding,” Beekman said. “They’re easy people to work for. Certainly as the months progressed, I felt more comfortable in the role and thought that it would be a great challenge to take on.”
Photo: Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
Jaren Jackson Jr.’s summer league debut couldn’t have gone much better.
The same can’t be said for Trae Young.
Jackson, the fourth pick in the NBA draft, outshined No. 5 overall pick Young in their first NBA action. The 6-foot-10 Jackson had 29 points and shot 8-of-13 from 3-point range to help the Memphis Grizzlies beat Young’s Atlanta Hawks 103-88 on Monday night in Salt Lake City.
Jackson hit his first two 3-pointers and was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc in the first half, including a buzzer-beater from midcourt to give his team a 47-41 lead. The 18-year-old Jackson showed the shooting stroke that made him a 40 percent 3-point shooter in college and scored 12 straight points during one stretch in the fourth quarter to help the Grizzlies pull away.
“I definitely felt hot at different spots during the game. If kind of felt surreal a little bit,” said Jackson, the team’s highest-drafted player since Hasheem Thabeet, who was No. 2 in 2009.
While Jackson was doing just about everything right, Young was having a miserable debut.
Young, who averaged 27.4 points last season for Oklahoma, missed all nine shot attempts in the first half, including six 3-pointers. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year, whose draft rights were swapped with the Dallas Mavericks for No. 3 pick Luka Doncic, struggled to recover after air balls on his first two shots and finished with 16 points on 4 of 20 shooting.
He was 1-of-11 from beyond the arc.
GRIZZLIES 103, HAWKS 88
Kobi Simmons had 19 of his 21 points in the first half and finished 8-of-13 from the field for the Grizzlies, while second-round pick Jevon Carter chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds.
Tyler Dorsey led the Hawks with 18 points and seven rebounds.
Omari Spellman, one of Atlanta’s three first-round draft picks, had a solid showing with 11 points and six rebounds. Their other first-round pick, Kevin Huerter, did not play because of a wrist injury.
JAZZ 92, SPURS 76
Georges Niang scored 17 points, while first-round draft pick Grayson Allen had 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Jazz. Tony Bradley had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Derrick White led the Spurs with 22 points and seven rebounds.
San Antonio’s top draft pick, Lonnie Walker IV, struggled in his debut, limited to seven points while shooting 3-of-16 from the field.
WARRIORS 79, HEAT 68
Kendrick Nunn had 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Warriors in a game played in Sacramento, California.
Warriors first-round draft pick Jacob Evans did not play because of a bruised toe sustained in practice last week.
Derrick Jones Jr. had a big game for Miami with 24 points and 11 rebounds, including a monster two-hand dunk after slashing down the lane. Bam Adebayo added 14 points and 14 rebounds.
KINGS 98, LAKERS 93
Marvin Bagley III showed why he was the No. 2 pick, turning in a strong debut with 18 points and six rebounds for Sacramento on the Kings’ home floor.
Harry Giles made a successful debut after being held out of last season with knee injuries. Giles, the 20th overall pick in 2017, was 6-of-10 from the field and finished with 13 points and three rebounds.
De’Aaron Fox had 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Frank Mason III had 16 points, including a key 3-pointer late to help seal the win.
Josh Hart had 23 points for the Lakers before being ejected from the game with 1:04 left and his team trailing by four after picking up his second technical for disputing a call. Rookie Moritz Wagner had 23 points and seven rebounds.
Top photo: Rick Bowmer/AP Photo
ESPN Staff Writer
Michigan State made a big recruiting statement on Monday when ESPN 300 offensive lineman Devontae Dobbs announced his commitment to the Spartans.
Dobbs is the No. 7-ranked prospect overall, and he chose Michigan State over Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC, among others.
The 6-foot-5, 304-pound lineman out of Belleville, Michigan, is the highest-ranked commitment for Michigan State since ESPN started its rankings in 2009. The next-highest ranking for a commit is William Gholston, who was No. 42 overall in the 2010 class.
Dobbs selected Michigan State over some of the top programs in the country, and he notably kept Michigan off his list for most of his recruitment. Landing the massive prospect keeps a big-name recruit away from rival Michigan, and it also prevents Ohio State from landing another recruit from the state of Michigan, as the Buckeyes were heavily involved in Dobbs’ recruitment.
The five-star recruit joins his Belleville High School teammate, wide receiver Julian Barnett, in Michigan State’s 2019 class. Barnett is an ESPN 300 recruit himself, ranked at No. 69 overall.
Both prospects are ranked in the top five for the state of Michigan, with Dobbs topping the list.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Miles Bridges’ versatility convinced Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak to take a chance on him in the first round.
Bridges is thrilled he did.
The Hornets wound up with the Michigan State wingman in the first round of the NBA draft after trading down one spot with the LA Clippers.
Charlotte initially selected point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from Kentucky with the 11th overall pick, but traded him to the Clippers for the 12th overall pick and second-round picks in 2020 and 2021. The Clippers then selected Bridges for the Hornets.
“He’s one of the highest character players in the draft, very athletic, plays hard, and he’s very versatile,” Kupchak said. “… There is not much to not like about Miles Bridges.”
Charlotte later traded up to No. 34 overall with Atlanta to draft Kansas point guard Devonte Graham, a consensus All-American who averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 assists per game last season. Graham, who is from Raleigh, North Carolina, is expected to backup two-time All-Star Kemba Walker, providing the team doesn’t trade him. The Hornets surrendered second round picks in 2019 and 2023 to get him.
Charlotte initially took shooting guard Hamiduo Diallo from Kentucky at No. 45 as part of the impending trade that will send Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets, but then sent his rights to Oklahoma City.
The Hornets drafted Arnoldas Kulboka from Lithunia at No. 55.
Kupchak said Bridges can play both the three and four position on offense at the NBA level just as he did at Michigan State, and also has the size and athleticism to guard four positions on defense.
The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Bridges was a unanimous All-Big 10 first team choice after averaging 17 points and seven rebounds last season for the Spartans. He ranked sixth in the Big Ten in scoring last season, 11th in rebounding and fourth in free throw percentage (85.3 percent).
Bridges is expected to be a better offensive option at small forward than starter Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is considered a strong defender but not a great scorer. Bridges has an NBA ready body and is one of the most explosive leapers in the draft. He scored frequently on perimeter spot ups and off screens while with the Spartans as well as on pick and roll opportunities.
“I want to get better at ballhandling so I can create my own shot and just be a threat everywhere on the floor from the 3 to midrange to getting to the basket,” Bridges said. “I definitely want to be more aggressive. I felt like in my college career I could have been more aggressive.”
Bridges did not work out for the Hornets despite the team’s repeated attempts to bring him in. Bridges said he had planned to visit after working out in Los Angeles, but “something popped up.”
Some Hornets fans on social media were upset over the team’s decision to pass on Michael Porter Jr., who went two picks later to the Denver Nuggets at No. 14.
Kupchak said the team had talked extensively about Porter in the weeks leading up the draft but decided to “move in a different direction” after he cancelled the playing portion of his scheduled workout in Chicago.
Kupchak is off to a busy start as Hornets general manager.
His decision to trade down comes one day after agreeing to trade eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets for center Timofey Mozgov and two second-round draft picks, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the league cannot approve the deal until the trade moratorium ends on July 6.
The 32-year-old Howard was due to make $23.8 million in the final year of his contract next season.
The Hornets failed to make the playoffs last season for the third time in four seasons, prompting owner Michael Jordan to part ways with general manager Rich Cho and coach Steve Clifford.
Kupchak hired James Borrego as the team’s new head coach in May.
ESPN News Services
The Memphis Grizzlies used the fourth pick in the NBA draft to take Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr., a power player who would fit alongside highly skilled Marc Gasol in the frontcourt.
The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Jackson can play power forward or center for the Grizzlies. Memphis had several potential trade partners leading into Thursday, but sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski in the hour before the draft that Jackson had grown comfortable with the prospect of Memphis taking him and provided team officials with the requisite personal information they requested.
The fourth pick was the highest for the Memphis franchise since picking Hasheem Thabeet with the second overall pick in 2009. The previous time the Grizzlies had the fourth overall pick was in 2007 when they chose point guard Mike Conley from Ohio State.
Owner Robert Pera predicted last week that with the right pick — someone to complement Conley and Gasol — Memphis could consider a 50-win season.
“Now, I’m a Memphis Grizzly,” Jackson told ESPN after the selection. “That’s crazy. I’m really happy. I’m so happy.”
Jackson was joined at the draft by his parents, mother Teri and father Jaren Sr., who played 13 seasons and also coached in the NBA.
“He loves me. He’s been my coach, my mentor, my father, and my mother’s been with me every step of the way,” Jaren Jr. told ESPN after being picked.
The Grizzlies also had the 32nd overall pick in the second round.
Conley gave a thumb’s up to Jackson’s selection on Twitter.
— Mike Conley (@mconley11) June 22, 2018
Jackson proved in his first season in college he has the ability to be a game-changer, averaging 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds. He also shot 39.6 percent from 3-point range and blocked 106 shots, a single-season record at Michigan State.
As the youngest player in the draft at 18 years, 7 months, Jackson might have the highest ceiling in terms of his ability to affect the game on both ends of the floor. He has enviable physical tools, including a 7-foot-4 wingspan and tremendous mobility.
Jackson’s ability to space the floor (40 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the line), block shots (5.7 per 40 minutes), switch on every screen and, increasingly, put the ball on the floor from the perimeter makes him an ideal fit for the modern NBA.
Jackson joins a franchise coming off its worst season in almost a decade. The Grizzlies recently reshaped their coaching staff, with J.B. Bickerstaff ultimately succeeding David Fizdale, who was fired in late November. Last month, the team named Jerry Stackhouse, Nick Van Exel and six others as assistants.
Bickerstaff said his coaches would emphasize “discipline, grit, physical and mental toughness.”
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.