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November 9, 2010

Green appreciative of chance to play against brother

EAST LANSING - Not only did Draymond Green come out of Monday's exhibition game experience with a little more respect for the way his head coach listens to him. Green also gained new appreciation for the fact that Tom Izzo sometimes hears Green's unspoken requests.

Monday night's game against Nebraska-Omaha was scheduled solely because Green asked Izzo for it.

And then moments before pregame introductions, it occurred to Green that he had forgotten to request that he and his brother - Torrian Harris of Nebraska-Omaha - be introduced at the same time so that they could shake hands, one-on-one, at midcourt prior to the game.

"I was going to request that, but I forgot to," Green said. "But Coach Izzo and those guys were on top of it. They took care of it. It was memorable."

So was Green's performance. He scored 16 points, which wasn't out of the norm for the 2010 Third-Team All-Big Ten selection. But his improved quickness and jumping ability were evident as he slammed the backboard for an early blocked shot, and jumped quick and high for rebounds and a dunk. Green has shed some weight from last year, and is playing lighter and higher. Green made sure his brother knew about it first-hand, Monday night.

Michigan State made a rare move in scheduling UNO as an out-of-state opponent for an exhibition game.

"Draymond came to me this summer and said, 'Coach, please can we do this?'" Izzo said. "Draymond was excited. It was cool.

"I thought his brother played pretty well too."

Harris scored 13 points for UNO.

"It's one of those things you get to do in sports that don't happen all the time," Izzo said.

Green capitalized on the opportunity by smiling and running his mouth during the game like never before. At least not since they played ball together back home in Saginaw. But back then, no one was watching. This time, Green said there were close to 30 family members in attendance.

"He talks a lot of trash," Harris said of his brother. "He is voted No. 1 in the Big Ten in trash talking. They were right."

Harris heard it loud and clear after his brother picked his pocket and took it back for a jam in the first half.

"A lot of times it (the trash talk) was coming at me," Harris said. "He got that dunk and he was saying, 'More was coming. More was coming.' When I got mine, he said that was my last one."

There were no angry words, of course. It was more like driveway humor.

"He would come over to our bench," Harris said, "and say what he was going to do, and then I was shocked that he would actually do it and score."

Like the time he warned the UNO bench that he was going to score on a spin move. They might not have known what he was talking about as he lined up for Durrell Summers' free throw attempt. But sure enough, he put his backside into the UNO player on the low block, did a 360-degree spin around him, and jumped up to the rim just in time to tip in Summers' missed free throw attempt.

"It was a great moment, a lot of fun," said Green, who embraced his brother after post-game handshakes near midcourt and had non-trash words with him once the clock read 0:00. "It meant a lot to us."


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