Traverse City Events: Former Michigan State basketball standout and current Pistons broadcaster Greg Kelser will be in Traverse City Oct. 7 at a basketball camp and to sign copies of his book Tales From Michigan State Basketball.
The basketball camp takes place at Traverse City West High School, beginning with registration for the girl’s camp at 12:30, followed by camp till 4:30. Boys’ registration begins at 3 p.m., and the camp runs till 7.
Meanwhile, the book signing runs from noon to 2:30 at Buffalo Wild Wings at 3480 S. Airport Road West, next to Grand Traverse Mall.
Kelser – “Special K” to Spartan fans of a certain vintage – was a mainstay of the MSU’s championship squad of 1977-78, earning All-America honors, both athletically and academically. A co-captain alongside the legendary Magic Johnson, Kelser went on to become a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons, and after a six-year NBA career he turned to the broadcast booth.
Kelser says his studies at MSU were just as important as his athletic prowess, and that’s the message he imparts to youngsters and adults alike in his book, at camps and as a motivational speaker.
“It’s a series of stories and lessons,” Kelser said of his book. “It’s about being resilient, keeping your eyes on the goal.
“I’ll be speaking to youngsters and the parents in attendance about the importance of some of the things you can do to be better at basketball, but balanced with a sound education,” he said.
People pay attention because Kelser has lived what he preaches. Following his brilliant career at MSU, he was drafted fourth overall by his hometown Pistons, then was traded to the Seattle Supersonics for Vinnie Johnson. He played a total of six years before a recurring knee injury hastened the end of his career. That’s when he turned back to the education he’d received at MSU. “I couldn’t do it (be a professional basketball player) forever, and I fell back on my education,” he said.
While the book focuses on Kelser’s career and features stories about Jud Heathcoate, Magic Johnson and the NCAA championship team, it also includes mention of Spartans of the more immediate past as well, including Scott Skiles, Steve Smith, and current coach Tom Izzo.
“He’s another Hall of Fame coach one day for sure,” Kelser said of Izzo. “It amazes me how he’s able to do how he does, and without recruiting the one-and-done players. He’s got guys that have to be developed, yet he manages to be right there competing with programs like Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke.”
For more information on The Northern Michigan Prep Basketball Showcase put on by Childress Sports Consulting, go to ChildressSports.com. You can also learn more about Kelser at his website at GregoryKelser.com.