Michigan State not only made a much-needed point guard addition on Thursday morning, but the program added a young man certainly bound for multiple appearances on the all-name team.
Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn, a 5-foot-10 native of the Bahamas and the No. 61 player in the Class of 2014, committed to Tom Izzo and the Spartans. Tum Tum played his last couple seasons of high school ball at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, KS.
Tum Tum was a big commitment for the Spartans. With Keith Appling graduating and Travis Trice locked in as the only other point guard on the roster, Izzo needed to find another floor general for the 2014-2015 season after whiffing on Tyler Ulis. Tum Tum is that guy. He may be the fastest player in the country with the ball in his hands and is a nightmare to try to keep out of the paint or to slow down in transition.
Tum Tum has only been playing basketball for about six years, however. Growing up in the Bahamas, he was a sprinter. “The Bahamas is a track nation,” he told me this summer, “so everybody ran track.” What that means is that he is still learning how to harness his speed, how to be a more that just a player that utilizes one marvelous athletic talent. He’s learning how to read screen-and-rolls and he’s learning how to run a team and he’s developing his perimeter shot, but that will come with time.
And working with Tom Izzo will certainly help.
The bottom line is that Nairn is a talented kid and a hard-worker with an awesome name and a better nickname.
He’ll be quite popular in East Lansing during his four years there.
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.
Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.
Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.
Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).
In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.