Michigan State doesn't usually get so excited over landing a 5-foot-10 freshman recruit, but on Monday, they did.
Lourawls Nairn, also known affectionately as "Tum Tum", certainly does not fit the typical mold for a Spartan basketball player at his height. Yet, despite this, he's considered a consensus Top 100 recruit and had other scholarship offers from Indiana, Kansas, Memphis, Iowa, and Minnesota - all due in large part to his incredible speed and ability to blow through defenses.
Nairn, who transferred over to East Lansing from Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, is the talk of the Spartans' team right now, and head coach Tom Izzo thinks he knows why.
"You know, he's not a great shooter, but he can do a lot of other things really well,'' Izzo said of the freshman. "Day Day (Draymond Green) told me I'd have to break tradition, he said 'I think you should name him a captain as a freshman.'
"Day Day says it excites him to play ball with him, and that's a helluva comment from a three-year (NBA) pro.''
Green's enthusiasm for the young, talented player is one shared by many of his teammates at Michigan State. Green himself, who now plays for the Oakland State Warriors in the NBA, took the time to talk to reporters over the weekend concerning Tum Tum's natural abilities.
"His number one attribute is his leadership skills — he's already a great leader,'' Green said. "He definitely has the want-to, (and) he's motivated. He's very quick, cat-quick, very strong, but one thing I like about him is his work ethic. So all the things people say he can't do, he's getting better at those things.
"But he's competitive, I think, and a winner, and I think those are the best two things you can say about someone. It's good to be able to shoot, it's good to be able to drive, but when you're a competitor and you're a winner, that trumps everything.''
Those currently around Nairn are all beginning to feel the impact of the natural born leader from Kansas. Michigan State junior Denzel Valentine spoke highly of his new teammate, despite only knowing him for a short time thus far.
"Tum is a great leader, he just grinds, and he's going to do whatever it takes to win,'' Valentine said. "He doesn't have the best jump shot, but he gets it done on the offensive and defensive end. If it really comes down to it, I know he'll hit the shot or lock someone up on the defensive end.
"For him, it's just getting the shot consistent and learning to run the team.''
You can follow MSU writer, Michael Ferro, at twitter.com/MichaelFerro.