August 7, 2012 in Division I
I stopped by the Moneyball Pro-Am last weekend in Lansing and got a chance to watch a couple of current Michigan State players and wrote some observations for The Only Colors. Among them: fans are really going to enjoy reigning Mr. Basketball Matt Costello:
Costello was the clear star of the early game. I covered Costello a handful of times during his high school career and I’ve long felt that he’s going to be a fan favorite at MSU, not only because he’s really talented, but because he’s super competitive. This sequence late in his team’s Saturday win best encapsulate everything Costello brings to the table:
* After a steal, Costello ran the floor for an uncontested dunk. But it wasn’t just any dunk … he did a full 360. He was dunking in traffic the entire game and looks stronger in just the few months since he has been out of high school, but still has underrated athleticism as well.
* A couple of possessions later, Costello had the ball about three feet behind the 3-point line. He’d been beating people off the dribble most of the game, so the defender backed off a bit and as soon as he did, Costello launched a three and made it.
* With his team up by roughly 30 points and less than 20 seconds remaining, Costello drove inside and finished while clearly being fouled. The referees, just trying to let the game end, didn’t blow the whistle. I wouldn’t say Costello threw a fit or anything, but he made it very clear that he wanted that call.
I’m not exactly sure what role he’ll play at Michigan State as a freshman. His rebounding or shooting could very well get him him on the court early. But whatever the role, it’s his toughness and competitiveness that will keep him playing regular minutes.