Michigan State Basketball lost its best player from last season when Aaron Henry declared for the NBA draft. The Spartans also lost veteran guard Joshua Langford to graduation who provided leadership, defense, and scoring last season as well as Rocket Watts whose performance against Michigan at home greatly helped Michigan State get into the NCAA tournament.
Adding two big-time transfers would help Michigan State tremendously in 2022 and there are two within the Big Ten conference who could propel the Spartans from the middle of the pack to the favorite to win the Big Ten this upcoming season.
Regardless of the players transferring like Watts, Henry entering the NBA draft, or Langford choosing not to use his extra year of eligibility, there still was much hope as recently as late April for Michigan State fans and alums for this upcoming season.
It was not shocking that Enoch Boakye de-committed from the Spartans as he was rumored to reclassify for the 2021 recruiting class but it was somewhat surprising and crushing to aspirations of Michigan State making a Final Four run in 2022 when Emoni Bates de-committed from the Spartans in late April of this year after being committed to the Michigan State since late June of 2020. Now, the big question is, will Tom Izzo use his two last remaining scholarships for the 2021-22 season to land impactful transfers?
Two recent Big Ten high-profile players have entered the transfer portal as seen below.
Other recent student-athletes who have entered the transfer portal recently or have not still found a school to transfer to.
There have been no credible rumors that either of the two above-mentioned players from within the conference has a preferred destination for their next school and both players could still possibly remain at their respective schools. However, Michigan State is one of the few big-name schools that have two available scholarships for this upcoming season.
The Spartans through the transfer portal, graduation, and the upcoming NBA draft have lost six scholarship players from last season’s team. They have welcomed three incoming freshmen in Jaden Akins, Max Christie, and Pierre Brooks and one transfer in Tyson Walker to help boost their roster for the 2021-22 season. However, history has shown that high-ranked freshmen and incoming transfers have not necessarily translated to the desired success on the court that many Michigan State fans have hoped for, especially in postseason play.
The last ranking class in the top three Michigan State had was in 2016 when the Spartans had the No. 3 nationally ranked recruiting class and the No. 1 incoming recruiting class ranking in the Big Ten. As wonderful, amazing, and great as those four incoming freshmen were in 2016, it took them time to make a meaningful run in the NCAA tournament.
That freshman class of Nick Ward, Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston, and Joshua Langford were only able to get Michigan State a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tournament in their first season in East Lansing and they lost to Kansas by 20 points in the second round in the tournament. As sophomores with the additions of Xavier Tillman and Jaren Jackson Jr., they once again lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Syracuse in front of a home crowd in Detriot, Michigan.
The overall point being made here is that the three incoming freshmen are unlikely to propel the Spartans to Final Four run in 2022. Even as the 2017 and 2018 teams were very talented with future NBA talent on the Spartan rosters, there is little substitute for veteran, talented, and proven players to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at potential impactful transfers that Michigan State can still land for this upcoming season.
Michigan State who went 15-12 overall and 9-11 in Big Ten play may look to add two big-name transfers to their roster for the upcoming season.
Player Profile: Marcus Carr
His accomplishments, stats, and highlights: Carr exceeded expectations last season as he was honored by being named to the All-Big Ten First Team by the Associated Press. He proved that he can score over 15 points a night as he averaged over 19 points a game this last season. He is not one-dimensional as not only can he score but he has never averaged less than four assists a game which is impressive.
He also averaged nearly one and a half steals last season as he showed that he can create turnovers. Carr produced 24 or more points eight times last season and his ball-handling skills would be greatly appreciated in Michigan State’s offense. He is fearless going to the rim and is a playmaker on offense which the Spartans desperately need.
His potential impact if he transfers to Michigan State: Many schools may be looking to add Carr to their team. Spartan fans and alums remember when Carr led the Gophers to a victory over Michigan State by 25 points last season. Carr can alone make the Spartans a favorite to win the Big Ten this season due to the Spartan’s need for a consistent scorer who can handle the ball to put Michigan State as a legitimate threat to win their fourth Big Ten regular-season title in five years.
Player Profile: Kofi Cockburn
His accomplishments, stats, and highlights: Big Ten Rookie of the Year as a freshman and as a sophomore was second-team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten. Last season he averaged just under 18 points a game which is impressive for a true center in today’s collegiate basketball game. He also averaged just under 10 rebounds a game and had a high shooting percentage from the field. He is dominant inside as he is listed at 7′ 0″ and 285 lbs.
His potential impact if he transfers to Michigan State: It is no surprise that the Spartans don’t have any proven big men who can score inside. Coach Izzo has had big men like Ward, Jackson, and Tillman who in recent seasons had success scoring in the paint. Last season, Michigan struggled mightily scoring inside the paint and had not forwards or centers average double digits in scoring. Cockburn added to this Michigan State’s roster would greatly fill a need for the 2021-22 season.
Other notable potential transfers outside the Big Ten that potentially transfer to Michigan State is:
More insight on Garcia and possible transfer destinations can be found here: Could there be two former Marquette players on the roster in 2022?
More insight on Shackelford and possible transfer destinations can be found here: Could he be playing in East Lansing next season?
More insight on Radford and possible transfer destinations can be found here: Could he be wearing a green and white jersey next season?
More insight on Williams and possible transfer destinations can be found here: Could he transfer to Michigan State?
Time will tell if Tom Izzo chooses to not use his last two remaining available scholarships this season on players as mentioned above. The overall hope is that if Michigan State wants to win a Big Ten title and make a Final Four run as they did in 2019, they need to add two proven and talented players via the transfer portal.