While Mo is always looking forward, he is still extremely proud of where he came from and what he has accomplished. Early in 2010 his former University, Michigan State, announced that they too were appreciative of Mo’s accomplishments. On January 17th, 2010, MSU retired Mo’s jersey along side only eight other former Spartans. Read the full story below.
EAST LANSING — The retired numbers hanging from the rafters inspired Morris Peterson, as he led Michigan State to a national basketball championship.
From this day forward, Peterson’s No. 42 might have a similar effect on future Spartans.
In recognition of Peterson’s contribution to the basketball program, MSU will retire his number at a ceremony 20 minutes before today’s 4 p.m. game against Illinois at Breslin Center.
“I remember going into the Breslin the first time, looking up to the rafters and seeing all the great guys who have been through Michigan State,” Peterson said Friday. “To have my name mentioned with those guys is just a tremendous honor. It’s something I’m definitely looking forward to and definitely will remember for the rest of my life.”
Peterson’s number will hang alongside those of: Scott Skiles (No. 4), former teammate Mateen Cleaves (No. 12), Steve Smith (No. 21), Johnny Green (No. 24), Shawn Respert (No. 24), Jay Vincent (No. 31), Greg Kelser (No. 32) and Earvin “Magic” Johnson (No. 33).
The former first-round draft pick of the Toronto Raptors will leave shortly after the ceremony to join his current team, the New Orleans Hornets, for a 7:30 game against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. A former All-American and Big Ten MVP, Peterson is the subject of one of college basketball’s greatest transformation stories.
He was recruited out of Flint Northwestern and out of shape when he joined Michigan State coach Tom Izzo’s fledgling program in 1995. Peterson said he could not run a mile before his first freshman practice and was a defensive liability. Izzo had difficulty playing him for extended periods of time.
“I started from the bottom, probably the worst (condition) a guy can come in with,” Peterson said. “I wasn’t real responsible and I had to mature. I didn’t really have high expectations and I never thought I’d have my jersey retired.”
The turning point in Peterson’s career came as a freshman when Izzo would not let him accompany the team to the season-opening Maui Invitational because he had missed an 8 a.m. class.
“I had set my alarm clock for 7 p.m.,” Peterson said. “When I came into the office, I knew I was in trouble. I stayed in the players lounge during the whole trip and I told myself that when the guys get back, I’m going to be a changed man. I think I never looked back from then.”
Peterson developed into one of the nation’s top all-around players in his final two seasons.
As a junior in ’98-99, Peterson became the first nonstarter to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors. Peterson was an All-American and All-Big Ten selection after averaging 16.8 points and six rebounds per game as a senior. He is ranked 10th on MSU’s all-time scoring list with 1,588 points, after playing on three Big Ten championship and two NCAA Final Four teams.
“If I look at who had an impact on my career and why I’m still here, Morris Peterson would definitely be one of the leading candidates,” said Izzo, who values Peterson’s occasional visits with the team and conversations with current players.
“The guys who came before me — like Steve Smith, Shawn, and Eric (Snow), and even Magic — kind of set the bar for me and us,” Peterson said. “It was important for me to see those guys being involved and I’m just trying to carry the torch on. I know how important that was for me, and I know how important it is for the kids who come after me because we have to keep this thing going.”
The original article was published on MSUspartans.com January 12th, 2010.
Here’s a look back at my first ever YouTube video that I filmed at the NBA All-Star game two years ago.