April 14, 2013

McDowell impressive in hoops debut with Dorian's Pride

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Each day of football practice this spring, first-year Michigan State assistant Ron Burton has challenged his players to use elements from basketball to improve as defensive linemen.

Spartan recruiting target Malik McDowell is using basketball toward a similar end this April.

The state's top ranked junior football recruit No. 21 overall player in the Class of 2014 believes the football benefit of running with the Dorian's Pride 17's justifies time commitment that comes with playing grassroots basketball.

"Basketball helps me with my footwork, which is one of the main reasons I am playing," said the four-star defensive end, whose rare combination of athleticism and power at 6-foot-7, 292, created match-up headaches for Dorian's Pride opponents all weekend long at the Up North Challenge. "Running baseline to baseline can be a lot of work for somebody my size, but the conditioning makes it a lot easier for me to go from the basketball court to the football field.

"It's like this, I can go from the basketball court to the football field, but I can't go from the football field to the basketball court. You can't go from football to basketball and be in the kind of shape that you come into the season at when you play basketball in the summer."

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