by RENALDO DORSETT
Anticipating a healthy season, Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr is pegged as one of the upperclassmen leaders of his Michigan State Spartans.
The junior point guard struggled through an injury plagued sophomore year, but Nairn has looked healthy enough this summer to deliver a series of impressive performances at the Moneyball Pro-Am.
Nairn finished with 25 points in the league championship, while highly touted incoming freshman Miles Bridges added 35, but their Team Green lost 93-82 to Team Black.
Spartans centre Gavin Schilling led Team Black with 23 points while another highly touted freshman, Josh Langford, scored 10.
Nairn made several jumpers from three point range and even threw down a fastbreak dunk in the title game, a welcome site to the Spartan faithful who wintnessed last season’s struggles with the foot injury.
The Moneyball Pro-Am is a highly regarded league in Dimondale, Michigan which usually many division I players including most players on the Spartans current roster in the given year.
Players throughout the state took part including those from Michigan, Detroit, Oakland and Eastern Michigan.
Nairn is one of the few remaining players from last year’s rotation, which also featured current NBA rookies Denzel Valentine, Matt Costello, Deyonta Davis and Bryn Forbes.
Marvin Clark Jr. and Javon Bess also left the programme via transfer.
Nairn, Schilling and Alvin Ellis III are the only players on the current roster that have played at least two seasons for the Spartans.
Despite a season hampered by injury, “Tum Tum” was still recognised by his 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 28 games played last season, Nairn averaged 2.8 points and 3.3 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.
With him sidelined, the Spartans had dropped four spots in the poll and had went 4-3 in that timespan.
After the injury he played sparingly at just an average of 8.3 minutes per game with a high of 14 minutes against Penn State, but the Spartans won nine straight when he returned.
The season ended for the No.2 Spartans in the opening round with a bracket busting 90-81 upset loss to No.15 MTSU in the Midwest Region.
The Blue Raiders featured Bahamian player Stephen Strachan, currently a redshirt junior. The Blue Raiders lost in the round of 32 with a 75-50 loss to the No.10 Syracuse Orangemen.