Michigan State To Retire Draymond Green’s Number

“I was absolutely blown away when Coach Izzo informed me that my jersey would be retired at Michigan State,” said Green.

97.1 The Ticket
October 28, 2019 - 3:19 pm

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


East Lansing, Mich. – The Michigan State men’s basketball program will retire Draymond Green’s No. 23 on Tuesday, Dec. 3 when the Spartans host Duke. Green, who played in two Final Fours and won three Big Ten regular-season championships, earned National Player of the Year honors in 2012 in addition to being a consensus First Team All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year.

“I was absolutely blown away when Coach Izzo informed me that my jersey would be retired at Michigan State,” said Green.  “This is an honor that I don’t take lightly and, quite honestly, will be one of the major highlights of my career.  I am so appreciative of everyone in East Lansing, starting with Coach Izzo, who provided an opportunity for this young kid from Saginaw to achieve my dreams and laid the groundwork that has enabled me to become a champion.  It is simply awesome to think that my jersey will hang in the rafters along with the likes of Magic Johnson, Mateen Cleaves and Steve Smith, just to name a few of the iconic Spartans in our rich basketball history.”  

Green is one of just four players in Michigan State history to earn National Player of the Year honors, having been selected by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 2012. A consensus First Team All-American, he also collected Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player accolades in 2012. In addition to First-Team All-Big Ten honors in 2012, he was a second-team honoree in 2011 and 2010, while also being named Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year in 2010. As a senior in 2012, he also earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Defensive Team.

“This is a fitting honor for one of the ultimate winners in Michigan State history,” MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo said.  “What makes Draymond special as a player is his toughness and his high basketball IQ. But he has one other quality that separates him even more from most great players – he has an incredible will to win. Everybody wants to win, but Draymond was always willing to sacrifice to win. He put our program, our school, me and everyone else in front of him, and I always knew that winning was his most important goal. It’s the reason he’s won championships at every level. He’s certainly achieved individual success, but that always comes second to team success.

“It’s well documented that Draymond almost didn’t come to Michigan State. And when he did arrive on campus, he didn’t have a lot of hype or lofty expectations from the outside. But what he did have was a goal to someday play in the NBA. So he went about it the old-fashioned way and worked hard to get where he is today. He kept adding elements to his game, and today’s he’s one of the most versatile players in the NBA. He’s never let other people’s expectations define who he is.

“Through all his success, he’s never forgotten where he came from. He’s proud to be from Saginaw and the state of Michigan, and embodies the toughness of our state. He wants to do all he can to help others have the same shot at living their dreams as he did his. His financial gift to our program is surpassed only by the time he spends as an ambassador for our department and university. He’s a proud Spartan and that will never change.

“Finally, it’s important to share how much Draymond means to me personally,” Izzo concluded.  “Our relationship has morphed into different forms over the years; sometimes father-son, or coach-player, or friends. But the one constant throughout the years has been brutal honesty both ways. I can say anything to him, and he can say anything to me. Just as elite players make other players better, Draymond makes other people around him better. He’s given me so much more than I’ve given him, and the opportunity to get to watch him live out his dreams is truly one of my great joys in coaching.”

During his time at Michigan State, Green played in the 2009 and 2010 Final Fours, won three Big Ten regular-season championships in 2009, 2010 and 2012, and captured a Big Ten Tournament championship in 2012.

He is the all-time leading rebounder in Michigan State history, collecting 1,096 career caroms from 2008-09 to 2011-12. He also ranks second in career steals (180), sixth in career blocks (117) and 18th in career scoring with 1,517 points. He finished his career just 27 assists shy of MSU career Top 10. He is one of just four players in MSU history to record a triple-double, posting three, including two in NCAA Tournament competition.

Green was a freshman reserve on the 2008-09 Spartans, saving his best basketball until the end of the year when he averaged 8.5 points and 5.3 rebounds during the 2009 NCAA Tournament, as MSU advanced to the National Championship game. As a sophomore he played a much larger role, averaging 9.9 points and 7.7 rebounds for the season as MSU made a return trip to the Final Four. In 2010-11, Green was MSU’s second-leading scorer (12.6 ppg) and leading rebounder (8.6 rpg) as a junior. His senior season was one of the most productive of the Izzo era, averaging 16.2 points and 10.6 rebounds, as Green led a team that started the season unranked and guided them to a Big Ten regular-season title, a Big Ten Tournament championship, and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Since leaving Michigan State, Green has gone on to have a successful NBA career. Now entering his eighth season, he has been a part of three NBA Championship teams with the Golden State Warriors (2015, 2017, 2018). Individually, Green appeared in three straight NBA All-Star games from 2016-2018, and is a two-time All-NBA honoree, earning a spot on the second team in 2016 and the third team in 2017. The 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Green is a five-time NBA All-Defensive selection, earning three first-team honors from 2015-17 and second team honors in 2018 and 2019. In 2016, Green won an Olympic Gold Medal with Team USA at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.