The Memphis Grizzlies are becoming South Lansing
This is Michigan State’s NBA team.
With Xavier Tillman and Jaren Jackson Jr. standing out in the NBA playoffs, the Memphis Grizzlies are becoming South Lansing.
On Wednesday night, the Memphis Spartans *ahem* Grizzlies balled out in the NBA playoffs with yet another strong showing from Jaren Jackson Jr. and Xavier Tillman Sr. The MSU basketball 2017 recruiting tandem, turned college roommates, turned NBA teammates, are putting the league on notice.
Jackson has been on a tear this season, as evidenced by his DPOY award. However, on Wednesday, it was Tillman’s turn to shine. He made the most of a few team injuries, earning his second straight start this postseason.
Tillman logged 22 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists on 10-of-13 shooting. More impressively he committed zero turnovers in 32 minutes of floor time. Jackson also posted a very respectable 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks, and a steal.
It has been well documented that the Memphis Grizzlies are quickly becoming South Lansing. They drafted Jackson in 2018 and then traded for Tillman from the Kings on draft night just two years later.
When they selected Jackson as the fourth overall pick, it was easy to see his star potential from the jump. His combination of size, outside shooting, as well as surprising handles make him a unicorn in today’s game.
However, not as many were expecting Tillman to be the gem of a pick that he has been. He proved against the Lakers that the Grizzlies won’t miss a step when he moves from bench reserve to starter.
Not only is Tillman extremely efficient on the floor, but he also showed just how cerebral of a player he can be. Very often a threat in pick-and-roll situations, he made the Lakers’ defense look lost on several occasions on Wednesday night. Tillman understands where he needs to be positioned, and his strong offensive rebounding frequently allows him to clean up a few buckets.
Tillman isn’t the flashiest player, but he does all the little things that allow a team to succeed. The Grizzlies drafted him because is a reliable 10- to 15-year type of player.
Tom Izzo prides his teams on defense, and Tillman and Jackson are combining to be quite the defensive force for the Grizzlies this season. The team has led the league in field goal percentage defense and is second in defensive efficiency behind only Cleveland. Jackson bothers teams with his incredible length, leading the league at 3.0 blocks per game. Tillman understands how to switch defensively in a league where floor spacing makes that incredibly tricky.
I look forward to watching these two continue to come into their own for years to come. And who knows, maybe the Grizzlies roll the dice with yet another Spartan in an upcoming draft?
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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