MSU's Dawson to return for senior season

East Lansing, MI ( - Michigan State junior swingman Branden Dawson announced Tuesday his decision to return to school for his senior season.

Dawson averaged 11.2 points and a team-best 8.3 rebounds for the Spartans last season, despite missing 10 games due to injury, including nine straight with a broken hand from Jan. 25 to Feb. 23.

"This last year, I made some big improvements in my game as I've worked on my shooting and ball handling," Dawson said in a statement. "I know that with another offseason of hard work that I can make even more improvement and become more consistent."

The 6-foot-6 guard/forward was named Most Outstanding Player of the Big Ten Tournament and led the Spartans to the tourney crown.

"If you look at his numbers over the last seven or eight games, including averaging 16 points and nearly nine rebounds in the NCAA Tournament, I think the outlook is very promising for his senior season," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. "As he continues to develop as a player and perform with greater consistency, he can position himself for a successful NBA career in the future."

Dawson's strong play helped the Spartans reach the Elite Eight before losing to eventual national champion Connecticut in the East Regional final.

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