Friday, December 4, 2009

Dahl-mania Hits East Lansing at Last

It's not every day that Isaiah Dahlman is the story line for a Michigan State Spartans basketball game. The former Minnesota high school superstar has had a disappointing ride at MSU, playing in just 66 of the Spartans' 116 games over the past 3+ seasons, and averaging under 8 minutes and just over 2 points in those 66 games. More was expected of the state's all-time top high school scorer at the time of his graduation from Braham High (since eclipsed by Cody Schilling of Ellsworth).

But it's not every day that the Spartans go up against the Wofford Terriers or any team whose star is the brother of an MSU player. But the Terriers are indeed led by Isaiah's younger brother Noah who leads Wofford in scoring (18 ppg), minutes (28) and rebounds (7 rpg), and who shoots 59 percent from the field, none of which Isaiah has ever done in four years in East Lansing.

But of course the Spartans are top ten and play in the Big Ten, while Wofford is, well, they're the Terriers and they lose to people like Appalachian State, Chattanooga and Western Carolina in the Southern Conference.

Still, modesty never having been much of a burden to me, I can say (and my hoops fanatics friends can corroborate) that it was always obvious to me that Noah would be the better college player. Why it wasn't obvious to anybody else, I don't know. But Isaiah was the skinny 6-7 scorer who took it to the rim and put it in the hole. As a senior he was 6-7 and maybe 165 pounds. Now he's listed at 195. Either way, I'm sorry, he's not getting to the rim in the Big Ten. Noah, meanwhile, was a year younger, an inch shorter and 30 pounds heavier (now, 25). Mostly, it was his good fortune that the role of scoring star on his high school team was already taken when he got there. So he learned to use his muscle and to do other things, things that his older brother was never asked to do.

The result of all of that is that if the roles were reversed--if Noah were at Michigan State, say, or Minnesota, and Isaiah were at Wofford--well, in that scenario they'd both be stars. As it is, only one of them gets to play that role anymore.

On the other hand, Isaiah is going to shower up tomorrow night with a W under his, er, well, with a W, and Noah isn't. The Spartans have lost 2 out of 3 after a 4-0 start, and they've fallen from #2 to #9 in the polls. They're ticked off, and they're going to take it out on Noah and his Terriers, brother or no. 87-55 feels about right. But it says here that Noah gets into double figures at maybe 12 points while, assuming MSU coach Tom Izzo honors his ever-patient senior with a shot at his brother--which might mean doubling his season's average of 6 minutes per game--then might Isaiah get half of that, or 6 points. Even that would probably salve the disappointment of riding the pine for the better part of these past 4 years.

1 comment:

  1. Spartan coach Tom Izzo was good enough to start Isaiah against Wofford, but I was completely off-base in my estimation of how Isaiah and Noah's games have evolved in the past three or four years. Noah scored 19 points against Isaiah's teammates, while Isaiah scored just two points against Noah's. And maybe Michigan State took pity on the Terriers--and, no, the Spartans were never in danger of losing--but the final score was a shockingly close 72-60.