Family dysfunction is a fact of life for most of the world. Fortunately, most of the world’s dysfunction is not the subject of the evening sports coverage. Unfortunately for Malik McDowell, his family dysfunction was covered during his NCAA signing period coming out of high school.
His family dysfunction is covered here for a specific reason, as it accurately describes his play on the field during his time at Michigan State.
Coming out of high school, Malik McDowell’s mother, Joya Crowe, opposed him choosing the Michigan State Spartans over several other schools. Crowe gave several reasons she opposed her son attending MSU. Those reasons are enlightening for understanding McDowell as a player.
Per Yahoo.com, Joya Crowe told Detroit’s 105.1 FM that:
"Everybody wants Malik to make this decision on his own, but Malik probably can’t tell you nothing about their academics. People don’t understand that Malik is not mature enough to make this decision. If I felt he was mature enough, and he came to me and said, ‘This is what Michigan State has to offer, education, football, the D-Line coach has this background … this, this and this,’ lay it out. But if y’all call and ask Malik, he’s just gonna say comfort, I’m comfortable."
Per his mother, McDowell chose to go to Michigan State because he was comfortable there. The real concern in this quote was a mother stating her son was too immature.
She had other concerns at the time. Specifically, she was concerned that her son would be going to a place that would not make him work to get on the field. In an article by Mike Griffith for mlive.com, McDowell’s high school football coach, Tim Conley, was asked to comment on the issue between Malik and his mother:
"“They are looking at Florida State and Ohio State, they’ve been quoted,” Conley said. “Those schools have a lot more depth on the field, and you’re going to have to work harder to get on the field. They (McDowell’s parents) say, ‘We want you working harder right away. Michigan State, he’ll be an impact player right away.’"
Per McDowell’s high school coach, Malik’s mother wanted him to go to a different school where he would have to work to get on the field. On top of thinking her son was immature and going to a place based on comfort, here she expressed that she wants her son to have to work hard to earn playing time.
But the final quote examined here speaks more about Malik as a player than the other concerns. His mom raised her ultimate concern for her son and Michigan State when she stated the following:
"“For some reason he thinks, everybody telling him he has this natural ability to play football, so he figures he’s going to go out there and be the man, an all-star,” Crowe said during her recent radio interview. “They done blew his head up.”"
It is unfortunate that McDowell was put in a situation during his recruiting period where he was publicly pitted against his mother over his choice of school. I know from personal experience that near the end of raising a child is a volatile period for both the parent and the child. The child wants to be independent and the parent wants to continue to care for the person they have taken care of for 18 years. It is a tough situation, and sadly their growing pains became public and intensified over the choice of colleges.
The issue for McDowell’s draft profile is that Crowe’s last statement sums up McDowell’s play at Michigan State perfectly.