Michigan State’s ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn more than unique name

Michigan State freshman point guard "Tum Tum" Nairn has a funny name, but his game has also given the Spartans a spark that has propelled them into the postseason. 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn would be a heavy favorite in terms of the best name in the field of 68 teams — and maybe even in all of college basketball. Or in all of sports.

But Nairn, Michigan State’s starting point guard, is a native of the Bahamas who was given the "Tum Tum" nickname as a kid. As if "Lourawls" wasn’t an awesome enough first name, the "Tum Tum" nickname came from the movie "The Three Ninjas" — which came out in 1992, before Nairn was even born. 

The youngest of the three ninjas in the film, Tum Tum, was so named because of his appetite.

Nairn started at point guard in the last eight games of the regular season for Michigan State at point guard (senior Travis Trice moved to shooting guard), and Michigan State went 6-2 in that span.

Michigan State is 9-3 overall when Nairn starts, and the Spartans have won 10 of the last 14 games overall, all starting when he was injected into the lineup to provide energy and offense.

Nairn only averages 2.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 19.8 minutes per game, and his season high in scoring is just eight points, but he does have 84 assists to just 33 turnovers. He’s also helped reengerize Michigan State’s offense, helping it run at the pace coach Tom Izzo prefers.

(That’s what the Spartans did in the first half against Georgia to build a 35-22 lead in the 7-10 matchup. He finished the first half with three points on 1 of 2 shooting and three assists.)

Nairn is not going to score a ton of points, but current and former Spartans already see something special in him. According to Michigan State’s game notes, Draymond Green told Izzo that if he were ever to name a freshman a captain, it should be Nairn because of his leadership skills. Former Spartan Mateen Cleaves — a Final Four MOP — said "he reminds me of myself."

That’s high praise from two former Spartans who would know.

Maybe he’s a game-changer for Michigan State in March.