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March 06, 2010

Dahlman the GM?

Big Friday for Michigan State. The women's team takes care of Michigan in Indianapolis, setting up today's BTT semifinal against Iowa (5 p.m., Big Ten Network). And Mark Dantonio scores the state's consensus No. 1 player for the second straight year.

    Look for reaction from and about Lawrence Thomas -- the Detroit Renaissance linebacker with offers from USC, Alabama, Florida and just about every college football power -- from Dan Kilbridge on Sunday.
    Also Sunday, kind of a big game at Breslin. And a big day for three departing seniors. Here's a look at one whose contributions have come mostly out of public view. One thing I will say, though, about Isaiah Dahlman's game: It's crafty and very effective on the offensive end. He gave the regulars trouble in many a practice. Great gym-rat moves, great feel, very good passer, good shot -- you don't set the scoring record in Minnesota without talent. At Iowa the past couple years, Dahlman is a stat sheet stuffer who probably scores 12 a game.

“White out” Sunday
Fans are asked to wear white to MSU’s final home game Sunday against Michigan (4 p.m., CBS). Fans who need a white shirt can get one for free in Section 111 by filling out a short GMC survey. After the game, MSU will have a ceremony to honor seniors Raymar Morgan, Isaiah Dahlman and walk-on forward Jon Crandell.

Coming Sunday
A look at the career of Raymar Morgan and the fifth annual “Quiz Bowl,” this year pitting Morgan against Isaiah Dahlman.


Joe Rexrode
jrexrode@lsj.com

    EAST LANSING –- Isaiah Dahlman plans on enjoying a long and prosperous career in the NBA.
    But not as a player. As a team builder.
    Which is exactly how Dahlman will be remembered at Michigan State. He didn’t play much, but his team-building efforts were enough to prompt Tom Izzo to call him “one of the great Spartans.”
    “I wish he would have played more. And if he would have gone somewhere else I would have followed his career,” said Izzo, who offered to help Dahlman find a place to transfer after Dahlman’s sophomore season. “But he has embraced it. He has made our scout team so much better. He has made the locker room, he’s done so many good things for this program. So maybe Spartan and program guy, he’ll go down (as) a first-teamer in that respect.”
    Dahlman dismissed the notion of a transfer without hesitation, and he said he is free of regrets on the decisions to come to MSU and stay there. Dahlman, Raymar Morgan and walk-on forward Jon Crandell will be honored Sunday after No. 11 MSU (23-7 overall, 13-4 Big Ten) hosts Michigan (14-15, 7-10) in an attempt to win a share of its second straight Big Ten title.
    A native of Braham, Minn., Dahlman left high school as the state’s all-time leading scorer, a top-100 national recruit with several high-major offers. The 6-foot-6 guard picked MSU over Iowa and was immediately vaulted into heavy playing time as a freshman in the 2006-07 season.
    Dahlman started eight games, played more than 30 minutes four times, scored in double figures three times for a team that clawed its way to an NCAA Tournament bid. Last season’s Big Ten title and Final Four are high on Dahlman’s list of best MSU memories for obvious reasons, but that 2006-07 season was special in its own way.
    “I was a mess and the team was a mess,” Dahlman said. “But I think it really showed Michigan State toughness our freshman year. … We grinded it out, we beat Wisconsin, the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, at home and we made a name for ourselves. We let the tradition continue. And every year I’ve been here, we’ve gotten better and better.”
    The following fall, Durrell Summers, Chris Allen and Kalin Lucas arrived on campus, and Dahlman’s minutes evaporated. After the season, he and Izzo sat down and talked about his future.
    To Izzo’s surprise, Dahlman said his love for MSU outweighed his desire to find playing time somewhere else.
    “You can say ‘Well, maybe basketball wasn’t that important.’ Basketball is really important to that kid, it’s amazing,” Izzo said. “And he deserves to play more than he has. That’ll be one of the things that bothers me when I leave. He deserved to play more basketball.”
    Dahlman admitted he sometimes watches Iowa on TV and wonders how things might be different. He’d be playing, but he wouldn’t be preparing for a championship game or another chance at a long NCAA run.
    “It does cross my mind sometimes,” he said. “I laugh about it and chuckle about it. I definitely consider it a blessing that I ended up here, with all the struggles they’ve had and the ups and downs they’ve had, it just makes (me) sure I had the right choice.”
    Izzo rewarded Dahlman in other ways, naming him a co-captain in late December. On Dec. 4, Wofford and star forward Noah Dahlman –- Isaiah’s little brother -– came to Breslin. Their parents came for their first game at Breslin.
    Noah scored 19 and Isaiah had a late basket in MSU’s win. Father Nate Dahlman called it “the greatest feeling of my life” after the game.
    After receiving his communication degree in May, Dahlman hopes to find a place in the NBA –- where his grandfather, Hall-of-Famer John Kundla, once coached the Minneapolis Lakers -- and work his way up the ranks of an organization.
    His ultimate dream is to be a general manager some day.
    “It’s gonna be a long process, tough process, it’s a tough business,” he said. “Whatever I can do to get my foot in the door, I’d be more than happy to do anything.”
    MSU can vouch for that.

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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