WHILE in town to participate in the 28th Jeff Rodgers Celebrity All-Star Classic, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green took time out to explore a Bahamian connection of his own – his relationship with Bahamian guard and fellow Michigan State Spartan, Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn.
Green spent four years under head coach Tom Izzo with the Spartans and is still an active member of the programme.
Known as a vocal leader on both ends of the floor, he saw similar traits in Nairn while they trained together in the offseason and played in Lansing’s Moneyball Pro-Am.
“That’s my guy, I love ‘Tum Tum’ and he’s like a little brother to me. You just see that aura that he carries about himself, you see the confidence that he has and the way he pulls people with him,” Green said. “I didn’t only play in the Pro Am with him, I worked out with him everyday, I lift with him everyday. Just to see the way he pulled the guys together was special. Not only does he do it with his voice but he leads by example.”
Heralded for his leadership since he joined the Spartans in East Lansing, Nairn was recognised for those attributes when the team hosted its 2015 awards banquet. He collected the Stephen G Scofes Inspirational Player Award, shared the Antonio Smith Glue and Guts Award with Denzel Valentine and shared the John E Benington Best Defensive Player Award with Brandon Dawson.
Green, a current All-NBA first team defender, said Nairn’s leadership and defence will be the factors that will make him a better player and give his offence an opportunity to develop.
Nairn averaged 2.2 points, 2.4 assists and 1.6 rebounds in just over 19 minutes per game for the Spartans in his freshman season. He shot 32 per cent from the field, 30 per cent from three-point range and 54 per cent from the line while attempting just 2.3 shots per game.
The Spartans finished the year at 27-12 and were runners-up in the Big 10 tournament. They entered the NCAA tournament as the No.7 seed in the East Region and defeated Georgia, Virginia, Oklahoma and Louisville en route to the Final Four.
The dream season came to an end one game short of the national championship game when they suffered an 81-61 loss to the Duke Blue Devils in the Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. All the accolades he received during the Michigan State Spartans’ run at the Final Four, there remains one major question mark regarding Bahamian guard Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr – his ability on the offensive end.
During the offseason, Nairn is making an effort to shore up those concerns by dedicating much of the summer to improving his scoring by reportedly shooting over 1,000 jumpshots per day.