Jaren Jackson Jr. becomes youngest NBA DPOY ever
Jaren Jackson Jr. is elite.
It’s official, former Michigan State star Jaren Jackson Jr. has been named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.
It’s official, Jaren Jackson Jr. your 2022-23 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
The former Spartan has dominated the NBA this season on that side of the ball. He averaged 3.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game during the regular season to go along with 18.6 points and 6.8 rebounds. He’s one of the toughest players to score on in the entire league and he was finally given some respect by making his first All-Star Game and earning some postseason awards recognition.
With the Defensive Player of the Year Award win, Jackson Jr. officially becomes the youngest player to ever win the coveted award. He joins an elite list of former NBA defensive players of the year who were the youngest at their time of winning the award.
Jaren Jackson Jr. is the 2022-23 Defensive Player of the Year 🐻
He joins the following as the youngest DPOYs in NBA history (age 23):
▫️ Kawhi Leonard
▫️ Dwight Howard
▫️ Alvin Robertson pic.twitter.com/bnTDV0WfkB
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) April 17, 2023
Anyone who watched the Memphis Grizzlies this season would have had no arguments with this award voting. Jackson Jr. has blocked a ton of shots and when he’s healthy, he’s the best defensive player on the floor. He has made life difficult on some of the best players in the league and he’s in the middle of a series against one of them (although his Grizzlies lost Game 1 to the Lakers).
Jackson Jr. beat out guys like Evan Mobley and Draymond Green for the award and he’s actually the second former Spartan to win the award in the past few years. Joining Draymond as a defensive stopper, the NBA is taking notice of the defensive players Tom Izzo is churning out.
The great thing about Jaren is that he’s really good on both ends of the floor. While Draymond is an elite passer and can make the occasional dunk or three, Jackson is a floor-spacer who can shoot from range or throw down over a legit NBA center. He’s fun to watch. There’s a reason he’s been regarded as a “unicorn.”
Former Spartans in the NBA are excelling.
Miles Bridges posts interesting Snapchat with Michael Jordan
Miles Bridges is eyeing an NBA return.
Miles Bridges has been out of the NBA for a year after getting into a domestic incident but it looks like he may be back soon.
Former Michigan State star Miles Bridges posted a picture on Snapchat of him talking to Michael Jordan on Saturday.
Miles Bridges on Snapchat 👀 pic.twitter.com/mAdSZu9cvx
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) May 20, 2023
After being out of the NBA for a year, this could be a hint at a return despite the controversy that would follow him.
Bridges has been in a lot of trouble off the court this past year. That is not something we need to dive into now, but Bridges missed all of last season due to serious legal issues. However, with Miles’ legal battle now complete, he is now able to play in the NBA again. The NBA suspended Bridges for 30 games but has ruled 20 of those games as being served. If an NBA team were to sign Bridges, he would have to sit for just 10 games before he can play again.
The picture above may be an indication of which team is looking to sign Bridges. Miles has spent his entire NBA career playing with the Charlotte Hornets. Jordan is the owner of the Hornets, so this picture shows that Bridges may be looking to re-sign with his former team.
Bridges has played four seasons in the NBA. During that time, he is averaging 13.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. His best season by far was his last. In the 2021-22 season, he averaged 20.2 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field. He has shown constant improvement during his career, but there is a lot of unknown with where his game is at now.
Relationship with MSU Fans
Michigan State fans do not support Miles like they once did. He was one of the most loved Spartans especially after he made the decision to return for a second season in East Lansing. Spartan fans continued to watch and support him during his NBA career as well. That all changed once his off-court legal issues began last year.
It will be interesting to see how all basketball fans treat Bridges if he makes a return to the NBA.
Gary Harris back taking Michigan State classes to earn his degree
Gary Harris hasn’t given up on that degree.
Gary Harris is back taking summer classes at Michigan State so he can earn his degree during the NBA offseason.
Every NBA draft cycle, players leave college early to pursue their dreams of playing professionally and making millions. What often gets overlooked when that happens is that the players who leave early surrender a chance to earn their college degrees on schedule.
Some players who leave early decide to go back and finish their degree which is a really cool move and it shows that they took college seriously.
Others don’t think twice about their degrees and just play pro ball.
Gary Harris is the former group.
According to @dudenamedcald on Twitter, Harris is taking classes at Michigan State currently so he can finish his degree. He posted a screenshot of a discussion post by Harris in one of his friend’s summer classes.
The goat Gary Harris is getting back to hitting the books for MSU. An absolute class act by Gary
Spartan dawg 4L 💯 pic.twitter.com/mzhFYgagPy
— down bad cald🔋 (@dudenamedcald) May 19, 2023
Imagine taking a summer class at Michigan State and then seeing a “discussion post” from a “Gary Harris” and then reading it just to see if it’s the Gary Harris. And then it is.
Harris, currently residing in Indiana over the summer, just wrapped up a season with the Orlando Magic in which he averaged 8.3 points and shot 45 percent from the floor, 43 percent from 3-point range, and 90 percent from the free throw line. His averages have gone down, but his shooting percentages remain elite.
But he’s clearly not content with being just an NBA starter. He wants to earn that MSU degree.
Leaving after the 2013-14 season, Harris was drafted No. 19 overall in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. He played two years at Michigan State and then earned a borderline NBA Lottery draft grade but slid to 19. Harris was then traded to Denver where he was one of the league’s brightest young stars for seven years. For the past three years, he’s been Orlando’s “veteran” wing.
And soon, he’ll be a graduate of Michigan State University.
Brian Lewerke gets another opportunity to play pro football
Brian Lewerke is headed back to Michigan to play pro ball.
Brian Lewerke will be joining former MSU cornerback Josh Butler in the USFL with the Michigan Panthers.
After spending a couple of stints in the NFL with the Patriots and Giants as a practice squad member, Brian Lewerke is getting another shot at professional football.
On Wednesday evening, the USFL’s Michigan Panthers announced the signing of Lewerke.
Free Agent Signing:
QB Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
Transferred Player to Inactive Roster:
QB Brian Lewerke
LB Santrell Latham
— Michigan Panthers (@USFLPanthers) May 18, 2023
Lewerke was signed after Carson Strong, the previous backup quarterback, was placed on injured reserve. He will now get a chance to compete for a prominent role on the roster with Strong injured and Josh Love not exactly setting the world on fire.
Quarterback play has not been a strength for the Panthers.
In four appearances, Strong had 266 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Love, on the other hand, has started five games and has 617 yards and six touchdowns with five picks. Neither quarterback has really stood out and that’s one of the reasons the Panthers are 2-3 and tied for last place.
Lewerke has spent time around the NFL with the Patriots and Giants and he was also in the XFL this past season for a few months, signing with the Seattle Sea Dragons. He was released in January.
Now he’ll look to catch on with the Panthers and potentially enter a more favorable situation. This could be a good spot for him to play professional football, especially since the Panthers need some quarterback help.
Lewerke had a decent career at Michigan State, passing for over 8,000 (fourth in MSU history) yards and 47 touchdowns (fifth in MSU history). He also has two of the top three single-game passing yard performances in Michigan State history and two of the top 10 single-season passing yardages.
Michigan State fans will get another opportunity to watch him live as there are two more home games left in the regular season for Lewerke to play at Ford Field.
The former Spartan quarterback will join Josh Butler who was signed by the Panthers earlier this spring.
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