Spartans backup freshman guard, Brandan Kearney, wasn’t going to get his name in the MSU record books anytime soon. Odds are, you would not have seen many replays on ESPN’s SportsCenter with Kearney at the forefront in the near future. And on Friday, it became apparent that waiting around for his moment to shine with the Green and White was not something Brandan Kearney intended to do.
When the Michigan State basketball players returned from their Christmas break, everyone suited up for practice and set their focus to the next task at hand; everyone except Kearney.
The young guard returned to East Lansing and delivered an unforeseen bombshell to head coach Tom Izzo: He was leaving the program to go somewhere else for a ‘fresh start’.
Izzo, admittedly, was stunned and called it one of the most bizarre things he’d ever been involved with as a coach of the Michigan State Spartans.
“He came back from Christmas and just informed me that he thinks he’s better off going somewhere else, not really happy with his role,” Izzo said. “He wants more of a role, he wants to score more, he wants to do this more, wants to do that more.
“ …(It is) disappointing a little bit, but no issues, no problems. He didn’t do anything wrong, we didn’t do anything wrong. He just feels he wants a different role for himself and he doesn’t see that here maybe with the freshmen.”
His fellow teammates were just as taken aback. Kearney had played roughly 17 minutes a game in his time with the Spartans and according to reports from his fellow players, they detected no sense of unhappiness from the 6-foot-5 guard from Detroit Southeastern.
Team captain and sole senior, Derrick Nix, admitted he was just as surprised as his coach to learn of Kearney’s decision to leave the program.
“I didn’t know it was coming. Like coach said, everybody’s not happy everywhere,” Nix said. “At one point of time I wasn’t happy, but usually when you’re playing you don’t want to leave so that’s kind of confusing because it kind of threw everybody off. Hopefully he makes the best decision for him I hope he’s happy where he goes.”
Kearney had found a role as the “glue guy” for MSU, appearing in all 13 games so far this season, he averaged 2.3 points and 1.5 rebounds. His shooting troubles as of late had become more apparent, netting only 11 of 37 shots (27.9 percent) and 3 of 16 3-pointers (18.8 percent), which likely led to his reduced playing time. In the Spartans’ last two battles against Bowling Green and Texas, Kearney only played for a combined 20 minutes.
“It happens this day in age. Everybody’s listening to somebody and everybody’s wanting to be something, and you gotta work for what you want to be and earn what you want to be,” Izzo said. “In this case I think what shocked us and our players was, as Nix says, guys transfer because they’re not playing. This isn’t the case, but I think he sees his role here and he thinks he’s a 3-point shooter, I don’t know. Maybe he thinks he’s something else.
“Usually your role is what you can do. If he thinks he can do that somewhere else that’s where he should be because I don’t want someone here who doesn’t want to be here and is not excited about it.”
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