Neitzel, MSU hoops
Michigan State's basketball media day is Tuesday, so I figured I'd get the hoops talk cranking early.
Drew Neitzel, coming off an all-Big Ten season, could be poised for an even better 2008. Neitzel averaged 18.1 points per game as a junior, and spent the summer traveling the globe. He took part in the Steve Nash and LeBron James basketball academies, played in the Pan-Am Games, took a few weeks off to recharge in August, and still enters the season in some of the best shape of his life. Neitzel told me Friday he weighs 182 pounds, about 10 more than he started last year at and 14 more than he weighed at the end of last season.
"This is the heaviest I've ever been. Ever," he said. "And I feel good."
Neitzel said he packed on the weight in part by changing his diet to include a more balanced breakfast. Instead of the doughnut or bowl of cereal he used to eat, he now scarfs down some combination of eggs, pancakes, bacon and toast every morning. He's no Kevin Durant in the weight room, either, bench pressing 185 pounds (the standard NBA combine lift) "14 or 15 times."
Talked to F.O.B. (Friend of the Blog) and former Spartan Thomas Kelley last week, too, and Kelley had high praise for MSU's three freshmen, Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers and Chris Allen. Kelley said Lucas is a jet and better finisher than some thought (he'll see plenty of time at the point as MSU looks to get its transition game going), Allen is already one of the team's top shooters, and Summers is the sleeper of the group.
"He's like Mo Pete to me," said Kelley, who played summer league ball with and against all three freshmen. "I don't even think he understands how much game he's got."