By RENALDO DORSETT

Despite a season hampered by injury, Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr was still recognised by his Michigan State Spartans for his leadership attributes.

Nairn was awarded the Stephen G Scofes Inspirational Player Award for the second straight season when the Spartans programme hosted its annual Men’s Basketball Awards Banquet for the 2015-16 season.

He battled a nagging plantar fasciitis injury all season long but missed just seven games, while ranking among the national leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio (7th, 3.78).

In 23 games played this season, Nairn has averaged three points and 3.6 assists per game.

Prior to the injury, Nairn started all 18 games at point guard and averaged 4.1 points and 4.5 assists in 24.1 minutes per game.

He was sidelined for seven games before making a return to the court on February 14.

Currently ranked at No.2 in the country, the Spartans had dropped four spots in the poll and had gone 4-3 in the previous seven games without Nairn in the lineup.

The sophomore point guard told Mlive.com that his focus is now on being ready to provide a lift to the rotation as the Spartans head into postseason play.

“It’s been fun being back out there. I’m just trying to go in there when coach and them need me in there to give guys a break. I have no complaints about it.

“When things happen that’s not in your control, you can’t really do nothing about it. I can’t say it wasn’t hard to deal with, but I’m back out there playing with my teammates. It’s been a smooth transition for me, not too tough of a transition. I’m happy I’m playing again.”

Since he has returned from injury he has played just an average of  8.3 minutes per game with a high of 14 against Penn State. The Spartans have won all seven games.

Nairn and the Spartans are also assured an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament and expect to be top contenders for the Big 10 title this week.

The tournament will be hosed at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Spartans will have an opening round bye as the second seeded team in the tournament and will await their opponents for the 6:30pm Friday (March 11) matchup.

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