4. Play through your Stars
This one should be easy but for whatever reason this has been one of the most frustrating things to watch about Michigan State this year is their inability to play through their stars. If you ask anyone who follows the Spartans or Coach Izzo they would tell you that Malik Hall, AJ Hoggard and Tyson Walker are the stars for this team. Those guys are the ones who are going to take Michigan State to the lofty heights that they expect.
Walker is one of the best pure scorers in the country, plays great defense on the perimeter and is a good passer. Hoggard is another great passer who is good at getting into the lane for easy baskets and gets fouled a lot. Hall is a good shooter and can play every position on both offense and defense and can win a matchup with anyone. The other thing about these players is they are all old.
So then why did Hall get less than 10 shots up in all but 2 games this season? I know he isn’t shooting the ball very well this year, but he played great against Nebraska when they were finally playing through him and letting him initiate the offense. That opened it up for Walker and Hoggard to go to work. Michigan State also let Walker run the offense a lot in that game opening shots for Hall. Those two need to work in tandem together. Hoggard has been getting his usual usage rating but has been on the ball to much. To fully utilize his talent and asset he needs to play the off guard some as well. Michigan State has a heck of an advantage having three guys who can play point guard on the floor most of the game.
Walker is a great player and a great scorer but when he is putting up 20-25 shots a night as he is now it makes the offense to one dimensional. Walker should be getting the most shots in the offense but 20-25 shots a night is way to many. Last season when Michigan State went on their run to end the season Walker was getting about 12-15 shots per night and was extremely efficient. That is when he is going to be at his best and what the Spartans need to try and get back to. Hall needs to be getting 10-12 shots per night and Hoggard needs to be getting 7-10 shots per night for the Spartans to be successful. Play through your stars all of them. Don’t make it easy on the defense by having one guy take all of the shots and everyone else turning into a role player.
The last game against Nebraska the Spartans started to share the ball more and it resulted in Hall having his best game of the season. Hall scored 20 points but Walker still took way to many shots in that especially towards the end of the game. Michigan State needs to be more balanced for them to reach their full potential. Coach Izzo knows that and everyone that has watched Michigan State knows that. I expect a change to happen quickly especially if Hall continues to play well.