Apr 15, 2014, 5:43 PM EST
Branden Dawson will return to Michigan State for his senior year, the school announced on Tuesday evening.
The Spartans will graduate point guard Keith Appling and center Adreian Payne this spring, and on Monday, sophomore guard Gary Harris declared for the 2014 NBA Draft. Having Dawson back for another season is big news for Tom Izzo.
“I was always pretty sure that I wanted to return for my senior season, but Coach Izzo said he would do what he does for all his players and gather some information,” Dawson said in a statement. “As he started making calls, my mom came up and we met with Coach. The three of us decided that as far as my basketball career, both present and future, and the chance to finish my degree, including possibly needing to take just one class during my final semester, that my initial decision was the correct one. I’m vowing to improve my consistency and am looking forward to a great final season.
This past season, the 6-foot-6 guard/forward averaged 11.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He missed nine games due to a broken hand. In the 2014 NCAA Tournament, Dawson dropped 26 points and grabbed nine boards in a win over Harvard, followed by a 24-point, 10-rebound effort against No. 1 seed Virginia to propel Michigan State into the Elite 8.
“This last year, I made some big improvements in my game as I’ve worked on my shooting and ball handling. I know that with another offseason of hard work that I can make even more improvement and become more consistent,” he added. “After not being able to work on my game between my freshman and sophomore seasons due to an injury, I saw what a difference a summer can make last year. I’m ready to put in another summer of work and excited to see the results. I think I played some of the best basketball of my career over the last month, and I can’t wait to do that every game next season.”
Dawson is projected as an early second round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft according to DraftExpress.com
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