Michigan State Basketball head coach Tom Izzo currently is projected to have one more scholarship available in 2020-21, who is the team pursuing?
Michigan State Basketball appears to be in the market for another guard. The Spartans are currently projected to have one scholarship available for the upcoming 2020-21 season, although they may have more available or perhaps none.
What coach Tom Izzo does know is that he won’t have Cassius Winston running the point any longer. Winston, who recently became MSU’s most recent two-time All-American selection, finished his career as one of the most prolific players in program history. Winston is the all-time Big Ten leader in assists and ranks sixth in program history in scoring. With him out of the picture, Michigan St. will need someone to run the offense.
“We feel like the number of guards we’re losing, we’re gonna need another guard,” Izzo told Steven Brooks of 247Sports back on Nov 13. “And yet, you never know in this day and age. We’ll check that (transfer portal) sometime, I guess, and see what’s in there, and then we’ll figure out where we want to go from here. But the game plan is to definitely sign at least one more sometime throughout the year.”
The Spartans do currently have options on the offense. Rocket Watts is the most obvious answer and but he is more of a scorer than a playmaker, plus the 6-2 guard posted just a 1.2 assist-to-turnover ratio. Watts was very inconsistent and highly ineffective this past season though he did finish the campaign up strong with four straight double-figure scoring efforts. Incoming four-star freshman AJ Hoggard is expected to see a lot of time right out of the gate and could start from day one.
He is actually the better option to take over the 1 spot than Watts. The 6-3 Wayne (PA) native has a sturdy frame and is a good distributor, as well as a quality option. Sophomore Foster Loyer is an option as well, but as it stands now, he seems more suited to be a backup who plays around 10 minutes a contest.
Michigan State could also bring back Josh Langford, who has not played since Dec. 29, 2018, as a result of a foot injury. Langford could take a redshirt this season, but that is unlikely, according to Izzo, as the 6-5 guard is more likely to turn pro if he can play again. If Langford does not return, the Spartans will need to bring in another guard.
Three names to keep an eye on to fill this spot are Karim Mane, Bryce Aiken, and Amauri Hardy. According to Jake Weingarten, the Spartans are very much in the mix for Mane along with DePaul and Marquette. Alabama, Maryland, and Wake Forest. The 19-year-old, who is a four-plus-star prospect from Montreal, was expected to make a trip to East Lansing this next week, but that has been put on hold as a result of the coronavirus.
Mane burst on the scene at the U19 FIBA World Cup his summer while playing for Team Canada, where he scored in double-figures in five of the seven games, which included pouring in 23 points in the opener of the event against Australia. He averaged 11.7 points, 4.4 rebound, and 3.1 assists for the tournament.
Meanwhile, Aiken and Hardy are currently toiling in the transfer portal. Aiken is an outstanding scorer who also strongly considering Seton Hall, Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, and Marquette, per Adam Zagoria of ZAGSBLOG.
Hardy, a Detroit native, is a high-volume scorer who can put up points on the scoreboard in a hurry when he is on. The 6-2 grad transfer nearly accumulated career-highs across the board last year as he averaged 14.5 points along with 2.0 triples, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists while shooting 40.9% from the field and 33.3% from long distance. He scored in double-figures in 26 of his 32 appearances, topping the 20-point mark four times.
ESPN’s Jeff Borzello is reporting that the UNLV transfer is also hearing from Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State, Memphis, Arkansas, Maryland, Seton Hall, Missouri, Cincinnati, Butler, Marquette, Washington State, Wake Forest, TCU.