December 3, 2012

Dawson's role key as Izzo looks to set rotation

EAST LANSING - Last Saturday's 84-39 blowout of Nicholls State may have given a leg-weary Spartan basketball team a dose of much-needed confidence.

But the lopsided victory did not give the Michigan State coaching staff much to evaluate.

"The positive things were still the turnovers, the fact of the assists, and a chance to rotate a little bit and look at (Branden) Dawson at the four," said Spartan coach Tom Izzo. "I just think that we are probably a week away from figuring out which way we are going to go and how we are going to go. But this will be a good week for us with two games with a little practice time in between them. I am looking forward to tonight, having an extra day to work on some things and work on us."

Michigan State began the year with senior Derrick Nix at center and Adreian Payne at the four. Branden Dawson and Gary Harris began the year in the backcourt with junior point guard Keith Appling.

Payne backed up Nix at center against Nicholls State. Dawson played power forward and freshman Denzel Valentine joined his classmate Harris in the backcourt with Appling.

"Adreian Payne didn't lose his job," Izzo said. "I am looking to get the best consistency of a rotation in. We felt like once we started those two guys (Nix and Payne) together, now we are bringing in a small who has worked at the three spot most of the week or we are bringing in a player that is going to play less minutes. It is being done for the right reasons, to keep the best players on the court for the longest period of time and I am looking for a little bit more out of Dawson, maybe from not being asked to chase around guys as much."

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